Skip to content

Share this article:

Mercy Surgical Oncologist Using Grain-of-Rice-Sized Technology to Make Big Improvements in Breast Cancer Care

Mercy Surgical Oncologist Using Grain-of-Rice-Sized Technology to Make Big Improvements in Breast Cancer Care
Mercy Surgical Oncologist Using Grain-of-Rice-Sized Technology to Make Big Improvements in Breast Cancer Care
Using SCOUT technology, a tiny reflector the size of a grain of rice is placed in the target tissue of the breast before surgery at Mercy’s Women’s Center. It allows surgeons to precisely locate the tissue that needs to be removed. (Mercy Medical Center)

One in 8 U.S. women will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Most of us know someone who has battled this all-too-common disease. It’s scary. It’s uncomfortable. It adds stress.

When helping a patient through this diagnosis, the goal at Mercy’s Hall-Perrine Cancer Center is to not only heal but to make the process as easy as possible. Localizing the cancer quickly and accurately is key to ensuring patients get on the road to recovery; this process is supplemented by using the advanced SCOUT technology.

Thanks to Surgical Oncologist Vincent Reid, MD, FACS, the Hall-Perrine Cancer Center incorporated the clinically proven system that uses no radiation to localize breast tumors, biopsy sites and lymph nodes.

Dr. Reid participates in multiple national cancer initiatives, which is where he learned about wireless localization platforms in its very early stages. After researching the technology and talking to multiple colleagues across the country who were involved in the early trial stages of SCOUT, Dr. Reid moved forward with bringing the technology to the Hall-Perrine Cancer Center, where radiation oncology, medical oncology, nuclear medicine and radiology have all partnered to implement the technology.

“Cancer is an ever-changing field that requires us as cancer care providers to acquire information and implement that information into the daily care of cancer patients,” Dr. Reid said. “The fact that we’re celebrating five years of wire-free localization in breast cancer and that we remain the only institution in Eastern Iowa that has adopted this or any similar technology, is a testament to that commitment.”

It’s fascinating technology. Using SCOUT, a tiny reflector — which is the size of a grain of rice — is placed in the target tissue of the breast before surgery at Mercy’s Women’s Center.

Dr. Reid uses SCOUT’s unique radar signal to detect the reflector.

“During surgery, I use a probe to locate the reflector device and tumor with great precision — within one millimeter of accuracy,” said Dr. Reid.

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 more often results in better cosmetic outcomes.

Since installed, Dr. Reid has done 400 surgeries with the SCOUT technology, including expanding its use to other tissue tumors; he has used SCOUT to remove a liposarcoma — a rare type of cancer developed from fatty tissues — of the back.

Before the SCOUT technology was available, the most common way to localize 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.

That procedure would be performed on the day of the surgery. But, because the time between the wire placement and surgery can be several hours, it increased anxiety and discomfort for patients, as well as making it a long day of surgery.

SCOUT allows Dr. Reid to identify the best location for the incision as opposed to it being driven by wire placement which relieves the anxiety, time and hospital expenses for patients.

The SCOUT technology reduces the cost of care by saving an additional trip, appointment and procedure expense for patients.

After removing the tumor, Dr. Reid then utilizes the MarginProbe® to evaluate if cancer still is present in the breast tissue as opposed to waiting several days following surgery for the pathology report.

Within minutes, the MarginProbe System provides real-time, detailed information indicating whether the cancer remains at the edge of the removed tissue. MarginProbe reduces the need for a second surgery by 61%.

“MarginProbe technology allows me to determine what margins are still positive for cancer,” said Dr. Reid. “We can then directly shave the additional margins that need it. As I’m taking fewer margins, the overall volume of the tissue being removed is less. It provides peace of mind for both myself and my patients that it detects any remaining cancer surrounding the removed lump.”

The Hall-Perrine Cancer Center uses state-of-the-art breast cancer technology from detection, to surgery and through treatment. If you have been recently diagnosed with breast cancer and are looking for a second opinion, please contact us for a consultation online at hallperrinecancercenter.org/secondopinion, or call (319) 369-4582.

Dr. Vincent Reid works during a surgery in which he would use the MarginProbe at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids. (The Gazette)