Mercy Health Surgeon Uses BioZorb Device to Improve Breast Cancer Surgery and Help Deliver More Accurate Radiation Treatment

Mercy Health – Cincinnati, which provides advanced, compassionate, quality care in your neighborhood through its care network, announces that breast surgeon and surgical oncologist Hilary Shapiro-Wright, DO, FACOS is among the first surgeons in Ohio to adopt an innovative device that improves breast cancer treatment.


Dr. Shapiro-Wright uses the small device, called BioZorb®, to help provide better cosmetic outcomes after surgery. The device also allows more precise targeting of radiation treatment following lumpectomy surgery.


“The BioZorb device helps provide optimal cosmetic results,” say Dr. Shapiro-Wright. “Its unique open design allows for tissue in-growth during the healing process. It acts somewhat like a scaffold and helps bring volume back to the tissue, which can be particularly helpful in the case of larger lumpectomies. Without BioZorb, these women may have had disfiguring cavities in their breasts following lumpectomy.”


Patient Claire Long of Union Township, Ohio, says "When I first heard that I had breast cancer, my immediate concern was getting it out of my body. In the back of my mind though, I worried about a scar or indentation as a continuous reminder of the cancer and my own fragility. Dr. Shapiro-Wright had suggested this device as a better way to target the radiation treatments after surgery and also as a filler to keep my breast's shape. Six months after surgery, I am thrilled that my breast looks normal and my surgeon even hid the scar cosmetically. I couldn't be happier with the outcome and am grateful that companies are continuing to work on treatments for breast cancer while considering the after surgery effects as well."      


Women with breast cancer may have lumpectomy surgery, which removes the tumor and preserves the breast. Most lumpectomy patients also have follow-up radiation therapy, which helps ensure the elimination of any cancer cells remaining in the surrounding tissue. Research studies show that women treated with lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy are just as likely to be cancer-free in 20 years as are women who had mastectomies to remove both the cancer and the breast. 


Breast surgeons have commonly used clips to mark the surgical cavity for follow-up radiation.


“These old-style clips aren’t ideal,” notes Dr. Shapiro-Wright. “They have a tendency to migrate, especially if we’ve performed reconstruction along with the lumpectomy. Also, we can only clip the outside of the cavity on the periphery of the surgical site instead of placing it exactly where the tumor was. As a result, radiation oncologists boost more tissue than is necessary.”


Instead of using clips, Dr. Shapiro-Wright sutures the BioZorb device in the tumor cavity at the time of surgical tissue removal. The implant marks the surgical site and tumor bed exactly where the cancer was present.


“It doesn’t migrate, allowing for more accurate radiation therapy,” notes Dr. Shapiro-Wright.


The implant consists of a framework made of a bioabsorbable material that holds six titanium clips. In addition to helping to improve cosmetic outcomes and target radiation therapy, the device slowly dissolves in the body over the course of a year or more. The small marker clips stay in place, which also enables the surgical site to be viewed for long-term monitoring such as future mammograms.


The Food and Drug Administration approved the use of the BioZorb device in 2012 and Dr. Shapiro-Wright has been performing surgeries using the BioZorb on a weekly basis since November 2016.