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FAYETTEVILLE – Feb. 10, 2021 –  A new Cape Fear Valley Health technology has surgeons excited to “retire the wire” for lumpectomy surgeries. The Magseed marker is a tiny piece of metal that a radiologist places at the site of the lesion using a syringe, in order to precisely guide the surgeon to the lesion or tumor. Previously, such procedures used a wire, which protruded from the skin afterward, and which had to be placed by radiologists on the day of the surgery.

“This is really modernizing our breast cancer program,” said surgeon Elizabeth Sawyer, M.D., FACS. “We’re changing the way localization has happened for the last 50 years and it’s a much more comfortable, less invasive localization procedure for the patient.”

Surgeons use a corresponding piece of technology, the Sentimag console and its handheld magnetic wand, to locate the seed, and the tissue to be removed, in the operating room. Dr. Sawyer said that one of the biggest benefit to patients is that, unlike the prior method, the Magseed marker stays in place for as long as needed, whereas the wire could possibly move before surgery and lead to some of the cancerous tissue being missed. Allowing the Magseed to be placed on a separate day also cuts down on patient stress and possible delays on the day of surgery.

“We started our first set of patients with this at the beginning of February, and it has been fantastic,” Dr. Sawyer said. “Another benefit of the Magseed is that, before, surgeons might have had to make incisions on a woman’s breast that we might not otherwise have chosen to make, depending on how the radiologist placed the wire. With the Magseed, surgeons have the freedom to choose where to make the incision and will make the scars invisible.”

The marker, which is smaller than a grain of rice at 1 millimeter by 5 millimeters, is then removed as part of the surgery. It is made of medical grade stainless steel, and is not radioactive.