Live Tweeting a Surgery

What if you had early stage breast cancer, and you could have your lumpectomy surgery and full course of radiation treatment all at the same time?

Thanks to a new procedure called Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT), breast cancer patients who meet the medical qualifications can possibly be done with their entire cancer treatment in less than two hours.

At Rose, we are very excited to offer this cutting-edge treatment, and we wanted to do something a little different to educate the public about the procedure, which is why we decided to live-tweet from one of Dr. Barbara Schwartzberg’s IORT procedures.

On Wednesday, Nov. 30, we used the Twitter hashtag #RoseIORT to send updates from the operating room as well as answer questions and offer information about the procedure.

Below is the Twitter transcript, for those who were unable to watch the live feed. To learn more about IORT, click here.


We will start tweeting in less than an hour! Submit your questions here.


PGangolly: Why did you decide to tweet from the OR?


@PGangolly It’s a great way to inform & educate the public about new procedures & technologies that they might not know about. #RoseIORT


They are getting the room prepped for the surgery and procedure. We should be starting soon. #RoseIORT


IORT stands for intraoperative radiation therapy. We are now using it to help treat early stage breast cancer. #RoseIORT


The patient has early stage breast cancer. She’s excited to be in the new trial & get her surgery/radiation treatment at once #RoseIORT


Limabo88: @RoseMedical What kind of doctor performs this type of surgery? #RoseIORT


@Limabo88 Our general surgeons, who specialize in breast cancer, perform the lumpectomy & place the balloon for the IORT treatment #RoseIORT


@limabo88 Then the radiation oncologist connects the radiation technology and administers the radiation treatment. #RoseIORT


Patient is in her 60s. She has a small 8 mm (3/8 in) cancer in her right breast. #RoseIORT


Patient has very early breast cancer. She’s a perfect candidate 4 breast conservation (lumpectomy) & radiation as one procedure #RoseIORT


Dr. Schwartzberg is going through usual preoperative checklists, which is a part of our routine quality assurance. #RoseIORT


The patient has met w/surgeon and radiologist to make sure she is an appropriate candidate. #RoseIORT


The procedure is done under general anesthesia. It takes about an hour and a half and is an outpatient procedure. #RoseIORT


Dr. S is using the sentinel lymph node technique, which allows her to selectively identify lymph nodes that need to be checked. #RoseIORT


They’re done checking the nodes, & will wait to hear what the pathologists say. #RoseIORT


In the meantime, they will start the lumpectomy and removal of the tumor. #RoseIORT


Dr. S made about a 1 ½ inch incision to start the lumpectomy. Doing the IORT makes their entry approach a little different. #RoseIORT


Dr. S looks at the patient’s mammograms to see exactly where the cancer is and where she needs to operate. #RoseIORT


Fantastic. Dr. Schwartzberg says they were able to successfully remove the cancer. #RoseIORT


They’re applying some local anesthesia to the area to make the patient more comfortable (she is already under general anesthesia) #RoseIORT


Dr. S is taking an x-ray of the breast tissue to make sure that they have identified all of the cancer. #RoseIORT


The cancer they removed is about the size of a quarter #RoseIORT


Dr. Schwartzberg performing the lumpectomy. #RoseIORT


@PGangolly To get the word out about today, we used our social media pages, as well as those of our community partners. We’ll also make transcripts available afterwards.


Dr. Schwartzberg wants to remind women to get their yearly mammograms. Early detection is key! #RoseIORT


Nodes look to be cancer free. #RoseIORT


Now Dr. S. is looking at the cavity to decide what size of radiation balloon to use. #RoseIORT


They are checking the tissue around the lumpectomy site, before they insert the balloon. #RoseIORT


They use a temporary balloon to help decide what size radiation balloon to use. #RoseIORT


Dr. Howell, our great radiation oncologist, is here. She will be the one who does the IORT procedure. #RoseIORT


The team, looking at the ultrasound to determine balloon size. #RoseIORT


Fun fact—several people are wearing their Christmas surgical caps today. #RoseIORT


They’ve calibrated the size and it’s a 30 cc cavity. #RoseIORT


Now they are putting in the stainless steel shield to help protect the patient’s heart and lungs, etc during radiation. #RoseIORT


They are putting in a 6 cm shield. She has a shield over her hips and thyroid to protect her as well. #Rose IORT


Pathology just called to say that we have good margins and can proceed with the IORT procedure! #RoseIORT


Dr. S is making sure that the shield is covering the right areas. It took only 48 minutes, to get to the radiation portion. #RoseIORT


They are closing the tissue around the balloon, so that they have good approximation with the radiation. #RoseIORT


Each patient has a different treatment amount that is precisely calculated. #RoseIORT


They are going to do 7 minutes of radiation treatment. #RoseIORT


They are draping the patient for the radiation, and putting up the shield that the radiologist will stand behind. #RoseIORT


Setting up the room for radiation. #RoseIORT


We are waiting outside of the OR as Dr. Howell does the radiation. Does anyone have any questions for Dr. Schwartzberg? #RoseIORT


Radiation is finished! #RoseIORT


In just 7 minutes, our patient has received her entire course of radiation treatment for her breast cancer! #RoseIORT


Now, Dr. Schwartzberg is going to close up, and we’re done! #RoseIORT


Here is the Xoft Accent electric brachytherapy machine they use for the radiation. #RoseIORT


Dr. Schwartzberg is closing up the area. #RoseIORT


@PGangolly Dr. Schwartzberg wanted to let you know she’s a GW grad and to say hi to Foggy Bottom for her!


The recovery from this is pretty quick- Dr. S wants the patient up and walking by tomorrow. #RoseIORT


The surgery is all done! Now, they’ll take the patient back to Recovery & Dr. Schwartzberg expects her to be walking tomorrow. #RoseIORT


@myoungnp @mylifelineorg The patient did great


One question someone asked in email was if all types of breast cancers can be treated with IORT. #RoseIORT


The answer to that is no, not all types can be. #IORT is primarily used to treat patients with very early breast cancer. #RoseIORT


Someone else asked, “What is the treatment time compared to regular radiation?” #RoseIORT


The answer is, regular radiation treatments can take days or weeks. W/ IORT, the patient is done in less than 10 minutes. #RoseIORT


A big thank you to everyone who followed the surgery! #RoseIORT

This entry was posted in Cancer Care, Doctors at Rose, What's Happening at Rose, Women's Health and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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