SSM Health Medical Minute – 3D Technology for analyzing tissue during breast surgery

Medical Minute

ST. LOUIS – When surgeons remove a breast tumor, their main goal is to make sure they remove all of cancer.  

Breast surgeons at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital have a useful tool at their disposal for quickly analyzing breast tissue specimens during surgery.  The Mozart 3D imaging technology allows surgeons to take 3D images of tumors in the operating room during breast lumpectomy procedures.  In a matter of minutes, while the patient is in surgery, the Mozart 3D images allows the surgeon to analyze whether they have removed all of the lesion of concern, or if further removal is needed.  The Mozart 3D images can also be quickly sent to a radiologist for further analysis if necessary.

The technology has been shown to reduce the need for follow up surgeries due to missing cancerous cells that may have been left behind.  This technology gives real-time imaging to quickly analyze the tissue.  It also allows surgeons to spend less time during surgery and therefore the patient has less time under anesthesia. 

Aaron Walsh, a circulating nurse with SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital says digital breast imaging is rapidly gaining acceptance as the gold standard for specimen mammography.  Aaron says the technology provides, “a bright white area where it is calcifications where the tumor is. And if it’s really close to the edge and the margin, we know that maybe we need to take a little more out and be sure we get it all.”

The 3D improves accuracy and false positives because it allows the physician to see the breast specimen better than traditional 2D X-Ray.  Traditional 2D imaging shows a marker seed, biopsy clip, and a cluster of microcalcifications in the specimen.  But it does not give indication of their true location and proximity to the margin.  The Mozart 3D shows the surgical margins as they really are, allowing the physician to accurately identify the location of lesions and markers directly on the physical specimen itself.   This technology allows physicians to take a picture in real-time and make a decision on the spot during surgery.  Aaron says 3D Mozart, “it is very accurate.  It gives you slices and blow up the images and turn them around to really be sure we are getting the entire tumor.”

To find out more about Breast services, click here.

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