What is Breast Brachytherapy?
Breast brachytherapy is a contemporary standard of care that delivers radiation from inside the breast, via a device placed through a surgical incision. The advantage is that radiation is delivered only to the tissue immediately surrounding the tumor cavity, reducing treatment time from 6-7 weeks to just 5 days or less and sparing more healthy tissue. It offers equivalent patient outcomes to older treatment approaches such as external beam.
What is SAVI Brachy?
The SAVI applicator delivers a form of accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI), a shortened course of high-dose radiation for early-stage breast cancer patients following lumpectomy surgery. It is a single-entry breast brachytherapy device that allows physicians to customize radiation based on patient-specific anatomy. It has been in clinical use since 2006.
How does SAVI Brachy work?
The SAVI applicator is implanted into the lumpectomy cavity usually in an office-based procedure after surgery. The applicator’s unique strut-based, open architecture design enables physicians to precisely target radiation where it is needed most while minimizing exposure to healthy tissue.
SAVI Brachy uses thin tubes (catheters) to deliver radiation directly to the lumpectomy site. The catheters gently expand to fit the size and shape of the tumor cavity. A tiny radiation seed travels through each catheter to deliver a precise dose of radiation, customized for the exact size, shape or location of your tumor cavity.
The SAVI Brachy applicator is gently inserted in a closed position into the tumor cavity through a small incision, a procedure that is usually done in your physician’s office.
The catheters are gently expanded to conform to the shape of your cavity. This is done only once, at the beginning of your treatment.
Once the catheter is in place, you will go to your radiation oncologist to begin treatment, which is delivered twice a day for five days or less.The ends of the catheters are connected to a computerized delivery system that painlessly delivers a tiny radioactive seed into each tube. The radiation source is completely removed after each treatment – no radiation remains in your body between treatments.
After your last radiation treatment, your physician will close the device and remove it through the same incision into which it was originally inserted.
What are the advantages of SAVI Brachy?
The SAVI applicator’s ability to customize radiation offers significant benefits, including:
- Minimizes dose to normal tissue without sacrificing overall treatment coverage.
- Eliminates skin spacing restrictions.
- Reduces the risk of fibrosis and symptomatic seroma.
- Expands the number of women eligible for APBI.
What are the advantages of APBI for women?
- Greater access by reducing therapy from 3 to 6 weeks to just 5 days or less. APBI means far less disruption to patients’ lives and families.
- Less financial stress. Women who receive APBI usually avoid the out-of-town expenses and prolonged absence from work sometimes required with standard radiation therapy. Many patients are able to work and maintain other normal activities.
- Better outcomes. With other forms of breast conservation therapy, women may experience damage to healthy tissue as a result of excessive radiation exposure to the skin, ribs, heart and lungs. SAVI reduces the risk of damage to healthy tissue and the chest wall and helps conserve future treatment options.