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Fox Chase First Cancer Center in the Northeast to Utilize New Surgical Navigation Technology for Breast Conserving Surgeries

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Fox Chase Cancer Center has become the first cancer center in the Northeast to feature a new tumor marker technology that has been described as the next generation of surgical navigation, one that will make breast excisional biopsies and breast-conserving surgeries more precise.

Breast surgeons have had few tools available to guide them in the removal of cancerous breast tissue, but with the EnVisio real-time Surgical Navigation System and SmartClip Tumor Marker technology, surgeons will be better able to navigate to the precise location of malignant breast tissue during a lumpectomy, significantly advancing breast care.

“The EnVisio navigation system is a step up from other technologies on the market for localization of tumors because it shows the tumor relative to the detector in three dimensions on a screen, making it easier for the surgeon to assess where the tumor is and how best to resect it,” said Richard J. Bleicher, MD, FACS, a professor in the Department of Surgical Oncology at Fox Chase.

Bleicher said the intelligence of the SmartClip marker partnered with the real-time surgical navigation system is a key feature of the technology. “Most localization devices provide solely a distance between the tip of the detector and the clip placed in the patient, but don’t provide directionality. This provides distance and a view of where the clip is in the patient relative to the detector in three dimensions.”

Bleicher believes the technology will greatly benefit patients. “Because the surgeon can see the clip relative to the detector in three dimensions, it should shorten times for resection, limiting anesthesia time for the patients,” he said.

“It will enable smaller and more accurate resections, sparing unnecessary breast tissue removal, and because the SmartClip can be placed in the tumor in advance, it eliminates delays and patient waiting on the day of surgery,” Bleicher added.

The wireless SmartClip Soft Tissue Markers are placed in the breast or other soft tissue to mark the location of the tissue to be removed at the time of breast biopsy or any time prior to tumor-removal surgery.

During surgery, the SmartClip and the EnVisio Navigation system guide the surgical removal of cancerous tissue. The system’s real-time 3D rendering helps surgeons navigate their tools directly to the tumor to remove the affected tissue, something akin to surgical GPS.

The system is made by Elucent Medical. Lee Wilke, MD, the company’s co-founder and director of the University of Wisconsin Breast Center, helped develop the technology, which she describes as “next-generation surgical navigation.” One of the goals of developing the technology was sparing millions of women undergoing breast cancer treatment the additional pain and stress from traditional wire-placement procedures, she said.

“My hope is that in the near future, women will be able to move quickly through the pathway of diagnosis to surgery, while improving patient outcomes. Having the SmartClip placed prior to the day of surgery and the precision navigation in the operating room is delivering improved care pathways for our breast cancer patients,” Wilke said.

“For decades, there has been minimal innovation in breast conserving surgery,” said Laura G. King, CEO of Elucent. “We are honored to be partnering with Fox Chase Cancer Center, a leader in cancer care, to bring precise surgical navigation into the hands of their skilled surgeons.”