JESUP — Wayne Memorial Hospital recently added a piece of technology to its operating rooms. With two new general surgeons on board, WMH complied with the physicians’ request for equipment needed to conduct a new service, sentinel lymph node biopsies for breast cancer. The Neoprobe Gamma Detection System is in use at Wayne Memorial to offer less invasive, yet highly accurate breast biopsies.
According to Wayne Memorial’s staff, the sentinel lymph node biopsy was developed approximately 20-25 years ago. Larger medical centers first used the technology and it has gradually been adopted by the surgical community.
“The ability to perform this procedure at Wayne Memorial allows us to practice ‘big city’ medicine in a small, rural community,” WMH general surgeon Dr. David Rainiero said.
The sentinel lymph node biopsy removes only a few targeted lymph nodes from the armpit area rather than all of them like in traditional surgery.
“The benefits of this procedure are normally a smaller, less painful incision, a shorter recovery period and the same, if not improved, accuracy of the diagnosis and staging of the breast cancer,” Rainiero said.
The Neoprobe Gamma Detection System helps physicians determine the lymph nodes that would most likely have cancer in them by using gamma ray technology. The idea is to remove only one or two questionable lymph nodes that are detected by the device rather than all of the healthy ones.
Breast-care specialist Nadia Kurland, who works with Mammotome, the company that makes the gamma detection equipment, recently traveled to Wayne Memorial Hospital to demonstrate the new technology. According to Kurland, the unit purchased by WMH is “50 percent more sensitive than older models and offers the most sensitive gamma detection on the market.”
Thanks to the new equipment, patients who normally may be required to travel out of the area for biopsies can now get treatment close to home with an outpatient procedure. Most patients are candidates for the sentinel node breast biopsy, but physicians make the determination after the initial examination.
“Wayne Memorial is fortunate to have this equipment available,” general surgeon Dr. Robert Patacsil said. “Many community hospitals could benefit from this type of equipment but do not have it.”
“Providing the equipment our physicians need is important to us,” WMH CEO Joe Ierardi said. “We are glad to be able to purchase this device, which will make a difficult time much easier for our patients by keeping them closer to home.”