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Home > Testing & Treatment > Surgery > SCOUT® Wire-Free Breast Cancer Identification System
Vincent Reid, MD, FACS,Oncologic Surgeon
One in eight U.S. women will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. At Hall-Perrine Cancer Center, approximately 75% of patients choose breast-conserving therapy (BCT) or lumpectomy versus a mastectomy followed by radiation.
Mercy was the first in Iowa to adopt the SCOUT wire-free identification system in 2016 as a standard of care for breast cancer surgery patients, and continues to be the only cancer center in Iowa to utilize this technology.
Using SCOUT technology, a tiny reflector is placed in the target tissue any time prior to the day of surgery. This is done at the patient’s convenience at Mercy’s Women’s Center.
The FDA-cleared system uses a zero-radiation approach to identify breast tumors, biopsy sites and lymph nodes, and has been clinically proven in multiple studies. SCOUT uses a unique radar signal to detect the reflector – which is the size of a grain of rice – that can be placed at any time during the course of treatment and at the patient's convenience. The technology reduces the cost of care by saving an additional trip, appointment and procedure expense for the patient.
The SCOUT reflector can also be placed at the time of biopsy for highly suspicious lesions with the greatest likelihood of progressing to surgery. This eliminates the need for an additional procedure prior to surgery.
During the surgical procedure, the surgeon scans the breast using the SCOUT Guide to precisely and efficiently locate the reflector within one millimeter of accuracy. The ability to precisely locate tumors increases the probability of complete cancer removal and reduces the likelihood of needing follow-up surgeries – a huge advantage for early-stage breast cancer patients. In addition, the ability to strategically plan the incision may result in better cosmetic outcomes.
Before SCOUT, the most common way to identify breast tumors was by a guided wire; a radiologist would place a thin, hooked wire through the skin to the tumor location, and then use the wire to locate the tumor for removal.
This procedure would be done on the day of the surgery. But, because the time between the wire placement and surgery can be several hours, it added worry and discomfort to the patient, making it a long day for patients.
However, SCOUT technology relieves the anxiety, time and hospital expenses for patients, which is why 97% of them would recommend this course of treatment. The technology reduces the cost of care by saving an additional trip, appointment and procedure expense for the patient.