RFID Gives Surgeons Second Set of Eyes

Posted by Ken Lynch on Tue, Nov 23, 2010 @ 12:20 PM

Helps Locate Breast Tumors During Surgery with Precision, Without Risk of Infection

SensoRXOne of the first blog posts in this campaign described how RFID can be used to create a more pleasant environment for cancer patients by having their favorite things, such as music and picturesque scenes, surround them as they enter the clinic. In fact, it’s the most popular post yet.  

RFID is again improving the healthcare experience of cancer patients, but in a very different way. SenoRx, has submitted a patent for an RFID-based system that will give radiologists a more precise way for marking a tumor's location for the surgeon. In this proposed process, the RFID tag, which is about the size of a grain of rice, would be inserted into the tumor. This new way of locating a tumor could potentially reduce the risk of infection and help surgeons locate lesions faster and more accurately. 

The way it happens now is that a patient goes through a one-day long appointment where the radiologist inserts a wire into the lesion, with one end protruding from the breast to mark its location. The surgeon can then follow the length of wire to pinpoint the specific location of the tumor. This procedure usually requires a patient to schedule both radiological and surgical procedures on the same day the wire is inserted to prevent infection that could be introduced by the wire and leave little time for the wire to be dislodged.

However, with RFID, the tag would not move. And because it can be inserted up to seven days prior to surgery, the patient may be able to have it done in conjunction with a regular radiology appointment. For example, while the radiologist examines a patient, he would use a needle injector to insert the RFID tag in the center of the tumor. The surgeon then uses a reader with a probe to detect the tag. A screen on the reader presents the tag's unique ID number, and a sound signal is used to indicate when the reader senses the tag, which gets louder as it gets closer. 

According to a SenoRx Form-10, the device has not yet been approved by the FDA. With the number of uses of RFID in healthcare growing, it is no surprise that the aforementioned post Enhancing the Patient Experience with RFID is one of the most popular posts on our blog.  We’d love your thoughts on today’s post too!

Tags: RFID, Healthcare, Oncology

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