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Operative Technique
June 2002

Surgical Technique of Intraoperative Radiotherapy in Conservative Treatment of Limited-Stage Breast Cancer

Author Affiliations

JACKPICKLEMANMDFrom the Breast Division (Drs Intra, Gatti, Luini, Galimberti, Veronesi, Zurrida, Frasson, and Veronesi), the Medical Physics Unit (Dr Ciocca), and the Radiotherapy Division (Dr Orecchia), University of Milan, Milan, Italy.

Arch Surg. 2002;137(6):737-740. doi:10.1001/archsurg.137.6.737

At the European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy, we have focused our interest on the use of intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) in limited-stage breast cancer that is conservatively treated. A new technique to perform IORT was applied in 185 patients from July 1, 1999, to October 31, 2001. As the surgeon plays a crucial role in this procedure in selecting the patients, performing the breast resection, preparing the gland as a target to receive IORT, delivering the radiation directly to the mammary gland via a dedicated applicator, and, finally, reconstructing the breast, each phase of the surgical technique has been completely standardized and is described herein. The use of IORT in the conservative treatment of breast cancer could allow the course of external fractionated-dose radiation therapy to be completely avoided; IORT dramatically reduces radiation exposure of the skin, lung, and subcutaneous tissues and avoids the irradiation of the contralateral breast, which contributes to a very low incidence of radiation-induced sequelae. In our experience, IORT for limited-stage breast carcinoma is easy to perform and only briefly prolongs the duration of the surgical procedure.

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