Building and validation of low-cost breast phantoms for interventional procedures

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Breast cancer is one of the types of cancer with the highest incidence in female population. Current treatment for breast cancer is lumpectomy, a breast conserving tumor excision procedure based on localizing the tumor with the help of hook-wire needle placement. Although this constitutes the standard approach in clinical practice, these procedures do not ensure the complete removal of the lesion due to the demonstrated high rate of positive margins. Improvements in these techniques are needed in order to reduce the number of second interventions, which usually involve mastectomy. Here is where ultrasound-guided interventions with real-time position tracking find their place. The problem is that these techniques require a high level of expertise and they present long learning curves. Therefore, training is needed in order to get from these tools their highest potential and have a real impact in the life of patients. For this purpose, breast phantoms were manufactured using liquid vinyl in order to achieve a mammary mimicking tissue. Optimal manufacturing technique was determined based on a gold-standard (commercial phantom). CT and ultrasound imaging were used to assess the identification of lesions. In addition, manufactured breast phantoms were evaluated by an expert clinician and surgical navigation was tested. This was done with the purpose of validating the breast phantom as a training tool useful for improving the outcomes of these procedures. The results indicated that the optimized formula achieved for the manufacturing of low-cost breast phantoms was suitable for training the skillset required in the interventions related with breast cancer treatment.
Breast cancer, Ultrasound-guided interventions, Breast phantoms, Surgery
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