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Fox Chase Becomes First Cancer Center in the Northeast to Utilize New Surgical Navigation Technology for Breast-Conserving Surgeries

Richard J. Bleicher, MD, FACS


Fox Chase Cancer Center is the first cancer center in the Northeast to feature a new tumor marker technology—the EnVisio Surgical Navigation System and SmartClip Soft Tissue Marker technology. This advancement will make breast excisional biopsies and breast-conserving surgeries more precise.


Richard J. Bleicher, MD, FACS, Professor, Department of
Surgical Oncology
Leader, Breast Cancer Program
Director, Breast Fellowship Program

Until now, breast surgeons have had few tools available to guide them in the removal of cancerous breast tissue. Described as the next generation of surgical navigation, this new technology enables surgeons to better navigate the precise location of malignant breast tissue during a lumpectomy, significantly advancing breast cancer care.

“The EnVisio navigation system is a step up from other technologies on the market for localization of tumors because it shows the tumor relative to the detector in three dimensions on a screen, making it easier for the surgeon to assess where the tumor is and how best to resect it,” said Richard J. Bleicher, MD, FACS, Leader of the Breast Cancer Program at Fox Chase.

According to Bleicher, the intelligence of the SmartClip marker, partnered with the real-time surgical navigation system, is a key feature of the technology.

“Most localization devices solely provide the distance between the tip of the detector and the clip placed in the patient, but don’t provide directionality. This new technology provides the distance and a view of where the clip is in the patient relative to the detector in 3D,” he said. “This leads to shorter resection times, which also limits the time that patients are under anesthesia.”


“This technology will enable smaller and more accurate resections, sparing unnecessary breast tissue removal. And, because the SmartClip markers can be placed in the tumor in advance, it eliminates delays and patient waiting on the day of surgery,” Bleicher added.

The wireless SmartClip Soft Tissue Markers are placed in the breast or other soft tissues to mark the area that will be removed during a breast biopsy (or any time prior to surgery).

During the lumpectomy, the SmartClip markers and the EnVisio Surgical Navigation System guide the removal of the cancerous tissue. The system’s real-time 3D rendering helps surgeons navigate their tools directly to the tumor to remove the affected tissue, which is something akin to surgical GPS.

The system is made by Elucent Medical. Lee Wilke, MD, the company’s co-founder and Director of the University of Wisconsin Breast Center, helped develop the technology, which she describes as “next-generation surgical navigation.” It was developed to hopefully spare millions of women undergoing breast cancer treatment the additional pain and stress associated with traditional wire-placement procedures.


Images courtesy of Elucent

“My hope is that, in the near future, women will be able to move quickly through the pathway of diagnosis to surgery, while improving patient outcomes. Having the SmartClip placed prior to the day of surgery and using the precision navigation in the operating room is delivering improved care pathways for our breast cancer patients,” Wilke said.

Fox Chase has a long history of implementing the latest technologies for breast cancer treatment and is proud to offer this latest advancement to our patients.

“For decades, there has been minimal innovation in breast-conserving surgery,” said Laura G. King, CEO of Elucent. “We are honored to be partnering with Fox Chase Cancer Center, a leader in cancer care, to bring precise surgical navigation into the hands of their skilled surgeons.”