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Magseed technology for breast cancer treatment

22 October 2020

Cancer care
The Magseed is a device that assists surgeons to treat breast cancer surgically. St John of God Bunbury Hospital General and Breast Surgeon Dr Marcus Ong explains what Magseed is and the benefits for patients.

What is a Magseed?

A Magseed is a tiny 5mm (or the size of a grain of rice) magnetic device that is used to help surgeons locate impalpable breast cancers during a lumpectomy.

Impalpable cancers are those that are so small that they are difficult to feel or see. 

The Magseed is inserted into the tissue prior to surgery by a radiologist using either ultrasound or Xray guidance to mark where the tumour lies. The surgeon then uses a handheld probe called a Sentimag to locate the Magseed during surgery. 

What are the benefits?

Inserting the Magseed into the breast ensures the surgeon can locate and remove the cancerous tissue whilst conserving as much healthy tissue as possible. This assists with the patient’s recovery.

By accurately removing cancerous tissue the patient is less likely to require additional surgeries or potentially even a mastectomy. 

The Magseed can be inserted a week or more in advance so that on the day of surgery the patient is generally less anxious having only to undergo one surgical procedure. 

What else can be used?

Traditionally, surgeons have used a ‘hookwire’ as a marker during lumpectomies, which requires a procedure a few hours before the operation, protrudes from the skin and may be unpleasant for the patient.

Some hospitals use a ROLLIS seed that works similarly to the Magseed but uses a radioactive seed instead of a magnetic seed. 

Getting help

Speak to your GP if you are worried about your health and wellbeing, particularly if you think you have a condition that is affecting your breasts.

Your GP can complete a range of tests and if necessary, refer you to a specialist surgeon for further investigation and treatment.
Dr Marcus Ong
Dr Marcus Ong - General and Breast Surgeon

Dr Marcus Ong is a West Australian trained specialist surgeon who treats patients at St John of God Bunbury Hospital.

Dr Ong’s specialises in breast conserving cancer surgery and reconstruction for breast cancer patients. Dr Ong also consults patients for breast reduction, breast augmentation and breast lift. Dr Ong provides specialist multidisciplinary treatment approach to breast cancer, thyroid cancer and melanoma cancer patients.