Surgical gel used to stop bleeding could confuse mammograms

Apr 14, 2009

Dr. Kathleen Ward noticed something odd when she examined the mammogram of a patient who had recently undergone breast cancer surgery.

The Loyola University Health System radiologist saw a suspicious pattern of white specks, much like grains of salt. The specks were calcium deposits similar to microcalcifications that sometimes are a sign of early . But it was too early for the patient's breast cancer to have returned because it had been only a month since her lumpectomy.

It turns out the microcalcifications were not from cancer. Rather, they were due to a gel that is sometimes used during to stop bleeding. In a recent article in the American Journal of Roentgenology, Ward and colleagues reported seven cases in which the sealant mimicked malignant microcalcifications in mammograms.

The sealant, FloSeal, "is not recommenderd for use on breast tissue," Ward and colleagues wrote. Ward is Medical Director of Women's Health Imaging and an assistant professor in the Department of Radiology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

FloSeal, is among the products surgeons use to stop bleeding when sutures or staples are not sufficient or are impractical. FloSeal generally stops bleeding in two minutes or less. "We hope our study will raise awareness for others who may be using this product or any similar product," said first author Dr. Amy Henkel, a third-year radiology resident at Loyola.

Previous studies have described the use of FloSeal in urological surgery, such as kidney resection, and cardiovascular surgery. FloSeal does not cause imaging problems for those procedures, but should not be used in breast surgery, said study co-author Dr. Richard Cooper, a professor in the Department of Radiology at Stritch.

The study is published in the November, 2008, issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology. In six patients, the microcalcifications caused by FloSeal were seen on six-month follow-up . In the seventh patient, these microcalcifications were seen on a mammogram taken one month after lumpectomy to look for residual malignant calcifications.

Source: Loyola University Health System (news : web)

Explore further: DNA blood test detects lung cancer mutations

Related Stories

Mammogram most effective 12 months after radiation treatment

Nov 25, 2008

Breast cancer patients who receive breast-conserving therapy and radiation do not need a follow-up mammogram until 12 months after radiation, despite current American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and National Comprehensive ...

Breast cancer returns more often in black women

Oct 29, 2007

Contrary to previous studies, African-American women with early-stage breast cancer who have surgery to remove the cancer (lumpectomy) followed by radiation therapy have a higher chance of their cancer coming back in the ...

Recommended for you

DNA blood test detects lung cancer mutations

17 hours ago

Cancer DNA circulating in the bloodstream of lung cancer patients can provide doctors with vital mutation information that can help optimise treatment when tumour tissue is not available, an international group of researchers ...

Tumors prefer the easy way out

19 hours ago

Tumor cells become lethal when they spread. Blocking this process can be a powerful way to stop cancer. Historically, scientists thought that tumor cells migrated by brute force, actively pushing through whatever ...

Brain tumors may be new targets of Ebola-like virus

19 hours ago

Brain tumors are notoriously difficult for most drugs to reach, but Yale researchers have found a promising but unlikely new ally against brain cancers—portions of a deadly virus similar to Ebola.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.