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SMHC Center for Breast Care is First in Maine to Offer Magnetic Seed Localization

March 07, 2019

SMHC Breast Care Team 450Southern Maine Health Care’s (SMHC) Center for Breast Care is the first hospital in Maine to introduce a new procedure called Magnetic Seed Localization, which improves breast cancer patient’s surgical experience while maintaining accuracy and quality outcomes.

Magnetic Seed Localization is a technique used to mark the tumor site in the breast prior to surgery. A Magseed, essentially a tiny, sterile magnet the size of a grain of rice, is inserted with the assistance of image guidance several days prior to surgery. During the surgery, the surgeon uses a magnetic wand to locate the tumor that needs to be removed.

This process minimizes delays, replacing the traditional tumor-marking method of inserting a wire into the breast on the day of surgery. Wire localization is a multi-step procedure that requires the patient to wait in between steps, which can be uncomfortable and anxiety-producing. 

"Patients like the ease and convenience of the Magseed procedure," said SMHC Breast Surgeon Cynthia Chao, M.D. "It’s less stressful and much more comfortable for them than the wire method. They can have the seed placed a day or two before surgery, which enables us to offer patients more appointment options with no waiting once they arrive for their operation."

Only 100 surgical facilities nationwide are currently using Magnetic Seed Localization. Yale University Hospital is among the leading medical centers currently trialing this new procedure and the Lahey Clinics are also using it.

"We are very pleased with the results we are getting," added Dr. Chao. "Our accuracy and outcomes are the same or better, and patients feel better, so it’s a win-win for everyone."

Photo Caption: SMHC Center for Breast Care Team, left to right:  Breast Nurse Navigator Helene Langley, RN, BS, CBCN, CN-BN, ONN-CG, Breast Surgeon Cynthia Chao, M.D. and Co-Medical Director of SMHC Diagnostic Radiology, Christina Cinelli, M.D.

About Southern Maine Health Care
Southern Maine Health Care (SMHC) is a national award-winning healthcare organization with a non-profit mission "to improve the health and health care of the communities we serve."  SMHC includes a full service, acute care medical center in Biddeford, with York County’s only inpatient mental health unit. Emergency care, surgical services and diagnostic and therapy services are available at SMHC’s Medical Centers in Biddeford and Sanford. SMHC offers primary care and multi-specialty physician services, diagnostic and therapy services and Walk-In Care centers in York County communities including Biddeford, Kennebunk, Saco, Sanford and Waterboro. SMHC is Joint Commission accredited and has been recognized for quality excellence by numerous outside organizations. SMHC is part of the MaineHealth system, a growing family of health care services in northern New England. To learn more, visit

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Allison Kenty

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