The Materno hospital uses a technique which means breast cancer patients need less surgery

The technique was presented this week at the Carlos Haya regional hospital.
The technique was presented this week at the Carlos Haya regional hospital. / Álvaro Cabrera
  • Intraoperative radiofrequency is a safe treatment which eliminates the malignant cells in the area which surrounded the tumour

The breast unit at the Materno hospital is the only one in the Andalusian health service to have a technique which means that women whose breast cancer has returned will not have to undergo further surgery.

None of the patients to whom this intraoperative radiofrequency technique has been applied at the hospital so far has needed another operation. The treatment is carried out at the same time as conservative surgery (patients who have a lump removed, but not a mastectomy) and consists of eliminating the malignant cells in the area around the tumour.

The technique was presented at the Carlos Haya regional hospital this week by surgeon Marta Ribeiro, the head of the breast unit at the Materno, who was accompanied by pathological anatomy specialist Ana Jiménez, radiologist María Teresa Hidalgo and a patient who had recently been given intraoperative radiofrequency treatment with excellent results, Raquel Zamora.

“This technique is effective, safe and it means the patients need less conservative surgery,” said Marta Ribeiro. She explained that the process is carried out in collaboration with the pathological anatomy and radiodiagnostic services.

Intraoperative radiofrequency began to be applied systematically at the Materno in January this year. Beforehand, research was carried out with the participation of 80 patients, of whom 40 benefited from the technique. This study showed that this type of treatment achieved a drastic reduction in later operations. It is hoped that every year it can be applied to 20 or 30 patients.

“It is a very effective method of increasing the safety margin of conservative breast surgery,” explained María Teresa Hidalgo.

Intraoperative radiofrequency is suitable for young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer in the early stages and need surgery to remove a tumour, and patients with a high risk of getting breast cancer again. Also, the tumour must not be more than four centimetres in diameter and the patient cannot have received chemotherapy or radiotherapy before the operation.

Raquel Zamora, who was given this treatment on 14 June, said she was very pleased. “Everything went very well. This system gives you greater protection and more security after the operation. I feel perfectly calm. My post-operative recovery was fantastic. I was back at home and sleeping in my own bed on the day I had the operation. I didn't have any pain, and ten days later I was back at work. You can hardly see the scar, either,” she said.

The Materno Infantil is the only hospital in the Andalucía Health Service to be able to offer intraoperatorive radiofrequency treatment and the second in Spain with this technique after the Vall d'Hebrón in Barcelona.