The use of ultrasonography in the localization of the lumpectomy cavity for interstitial brachytherapy of the breast

David A. DeBiose, Eric M. Horwitz, Alvaro A. Martinez, Gregory K. Edmundson, Peter Y. Chen, Gary S. Gustafson, Beatrice Madrazo, Kathryn Wimbish, Elizabeth Mele, Frank A. Vicini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine the value of breast ultrasonography (US) in defining the lumpectomy cavity for patients treated with interstitial brachytherapy. Methods and Materials: In March 1993, a protocol of low dose rate (LDR) interstitial brachytherapy as the sole radiation modality in selected patients with early breast cancer was initiated at William Beaumont Hospital. To date, 60 patients have been entered in this protocol, and 38 have undergone US assisted placement of interstitial brachytherapy needles. The lumpectomy cavity was outlined in all dimensions and corresponding skin marks were placed for reference at time of implantation. These US dimensions were compared to the physician's clinical estimate of the location of the lumpectomy cavity, the patient's presurgical mammogram, and the position of the surgical scar. In the intraoperative setting, the dimensions of the lumpectomy cavity were also obtained and the placement of the deep plane of interstitial needles was verified by US. Results: The full extent of the lumpectomy cavity was underestimated by clinical examination (physical exam, operative report, mammographic information and location of the surgical scar) in 33 of 38 patients (87%). The depth to the chest wall was also incorrectly estimated in 34 (90%) patients when compared to US examination. Intraoperatively, US was performed in nine patients and was useful in verifying the accurate placement of the deepest plane of interstitial brachytherapy needles. In 7 of 9 patients (75%), clinical placement of needles did not ensure adequate coverage of the posterior extent of the lumpectomy cavity as visualized by intraoperative US. Conclusions: In breast cancer patients considered for interstitial brachytherapy, US appears to be a more accurate means of identifying the full extent of the lumpectomy cavity when compared to clinical estimates. In addition, US allows real-time verification of needle placement in the intraoperative setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)755-759
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Brachytherapy
  • Breast cancer
  • Low dose rate
  • Lumpectomy cavity
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiation


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