Impressed Northwell expands use of breast ‘reflectors’

Image conscious: Nina Vincoff, Northwell Health's chief of breast imaging, checks out radar images created by an implanted SAVI SCOUT device.

Northwell Health has gone all-in on leading-edge technology designed to pinpoint tumors and effect better physiological and cosmetic results for breast cancer patients.

On Tuesday, the last day of the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the New Hyde Park-based health system announced that it’s now offering state-of-the-art breast-biopsies, lumpectomies and other breast-related procedures at more than a dozen regional hospitals and outpatient facilities featuring the new technology, called SAVI SCOUT.

The wireless “localization and surgical guidance system” centers on a tiny remote device – called a “reflector” – that radiologists can implant into the breast up to 30 days before a scheduled surgery.

Once implanted, the reflector – located by non-radioactive, micro-impulse radar technology – provides “real-time surgical guidance,” helping surgeons better target diseased tissue, reducing surgical time and “ensuring a more exacting result,” according to Northwell Health.

Before SAVI SCOUT, patients would be required to arrive hours before their scheduled surgeries so physicians could thread a wire into their breast, a procedure known as “wire localization.”

Surgeons and radiologists at the Northwell Health Cancer Institute first introduced the wireless technology to Long Island patients in July 2016. Now, SAVI SCOUT – produced by California-based Cianna Medical and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – will be available at 16 regional Northwell facilities, thanks in large part to funds raised at the Katz Institute for Women’s Health’s 25th Annual Luncheon and Fashion Show in September.

Karen Kostroff: SCOUT’s honor.

The $220,000 investment gives Northwell Health more SAVI SCOUT devices than any other health system in the country – a reflection of the positive impression the wireless radar-localization technology has made on Northwell officials since it debuted on Long Island 16 months ago, according to Nina Vincoff, the health system’s chief of breast imaging.

“Our program using the SCOUT technology has been incredibly successful,” Vincoff said Tuesday. “Our patients have indicated high satisfaction with both the experience of the procedure itself and the convenience of having it performed at one of our outpatient centers prior to the day of surgery.”

In addition to providing convenient scheduling options, SAVI SCOUT “resolves one of the most difficult aspects of breast conservation surgery” – not only by allowing surgeons to strategically minimize incisions and potentially remove less undamaged breast tissue, but by eliminating the need to use wires to locate cancer tumors, according to Karen Kostroff, Northwell Health’s chief of breast surgery.

“Breast-cancer surgery or biopsy can be physically and emotionally distressing for women,” Kostroff said in a statement. “We continually strive to offer the latest technology and improve our patients’ comfort and overall experience.”

Providers throughout Northwell Health’s integrated digital-imaging network can remotely access patient’s breast images at other locations equipped with SAVI SCOUT technology, adding to the system’s clinical efficiency.

“The radar localization has already been adopted by the majority of our breast surgeons,” Kostroff added. “The number of surgeons doing the SCOUT procedure continues to grow.”