SAVI SCOUT®: Cutting-edge Technology for Breast-Conserving Surgery

Female Physician Wearing White Coat with Stethescope

Penn Medicine's Breast Surgery Program is the first in the region to offer SAVI SCOUT® radar localization technology to treat women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer.

SAVI SCOUT® makes lumpectomies — breast-conserving surgeries where only part of the breast is removed — easier for both patients and their surgeons by accurately pinpointing tumors before surgery. By seeing exactly where the tumors are ahead of surgery, we can go straight to the abnormality during surgery and more precisely and effectively remove the entire tumor.

The FDA-approved technology may also give you more normal-looking breasts by limiting the amount of healthy breast tissue removed, as well as decreasing the amount of time spent in the hospital when compared with traditional wire localization.

How does SAVI SCOUT® work?

Of the nearly 175,000 women who have breast-conserving surgery each year, about 30 percent require repeat surgery because some detectable cancer cells remain after the first procedure.

Traditionally, wire localization was the preferred preoperative technique for localizing breast tumors. SAVI SCOUT® allows you to forego a wire localization, which requires you to have a wire sticking out of your breast, often for several hours. In order for the wire to remain in place, you must restrict your movements between the time a radiologist inserts the wire the morning of surgery and when the lumpectomy occurs. Your surgeon would then follow the wire and remove your tumor. In some cases, wires can move away from your tumor, making it more difficult to remove all of the cancerous tissue. When this happens, you might need a second surgery.

Instead of wires, SAVI SCOUT® uses a reflector that's about the size of a grain of rice. It can be placed in your tumor up to 30 days before surgery. The reflector isn't externally visible, and placement does not restrict your movements. The reflector is passive until activated, when safe, nonradioactive radar waves are used to detect it within your breast.

The nonradioactive surgical guidance technology then guides your surgeon to the precise site of your tumor and can increase the likelihood of complete tumor removal.

What are the benefits to SAVI SCOUT®?

One of the obvious advantages of SAVI SCOUT® is that it allows us to eliminate the wire localization, which often causes discomfort and anxiety in patients. Now, patients don't have to wait around to have their surgery and can have it earlier in the day. Plus, the SAVI SCOUT® reflector is so small that you won't even feel it.

In addition, we are able to plan the incision during surgery, which can limit tissue removal for better cosmetic results. Our goal is to save the breast, and with this technology, we can make smaller incisions, be a lot more precise and save more of the normal tissue. This also means a less painful and quicker recovery for you.

When possible, Penn's breast surgeons work in tandem with plastic surgeons to reconstruct your breasts immediately after a lumpectomy, reducing your total recovery time.

Who is eligible for SAVI SCOUT®?

SAVI SCOUT® is designed to help treat early-stage breast cancer patients who choose to have a lumpectomy or excisional biopsy — a diagnostic procedure in which the whole tumor is removed and tested — where the tumor is not able to be felt by hand.

When tumors are accurately located during the first surgery, any additional treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, can occur faster.