Saint Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury takes precision to new level with 3D imaging in the operating room

Positively Pink

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — When a mammogram detects a breast lump and a biopsy determines it to be cancerous, a lumpectomy is a common option. A surgeon removes a lump of breast tissue containing the cancerous tumor.

At Saint Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, a Mozart machine now provides tomosynthesis or 3D imaging right in the operating room. It allows breast surgeons to get a high-tech view of the breast lump once it is removed.

Previously, Dr. Beth Sieling had two-dimensional imaging. She said the machine’s 3D imaging has two advantages. It’s not just about getting a good look at the tumor, but also the tissue around it called the margins. If the cancer is too close to the borders, or margins, another surgery is required to remove more of it.

She likes that the Mozart machine spares some women from having to have another surgery at a later date to remove what was missed the first time.

“They finish their surgery, they come in and see you for their post-op visit, and you’re like ‘guess what?’ We didn’t get it all, there is one positive margin and we have to go back in and do another margin,’ and these women are devastated,” Dr. Sieling said.

Dr. Sieling said it also allows them to remove less tissue, which she says patients like for cosmetic reasons.

“I just feel so much more comfortable when I’m finished so I can almost guarantee myself that I’ve gotten it all. I’ve removed my specimen, I’m happy with my 3D image of the specimen,” she said.

One other procedure Dr. Sieling is proud to provide for her patients involves inserting a needle with a thread attached into her patient’s breast while they are under anesthesia. She said she heard from many women during her medical training that having this done before their breast surgery with local anesthesia was worse than having it done during the surgery.

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