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Frank Agullo, MD En Español

How SPY Imaging Technology is Helping Breast Cancer Patients

May 21, 2014 | Breast Reconstruction, New Technologies

Illustration of a spy with accessories icons. Spy in the black coat and hat with a magnifying glass and briefcaseWhen you think of SPY Imaging technology, perhaps your mind fills with images of James Bond carrying a black briefcase full of clever and useful tools to accomplish secret missions. If so, the James Bonds of plastic surgery can be found in El Paso, TX, where two renowned plastic surgeons have been putting the use of modern technologies to good use.

SPY imaging is a fairly new, cutting edge system that enables the doctors to determine exact percentages of tissue perfusion during surgery. This offers tremendous hope to patients who have suffered the loss of one or both breasts as a result of cancer. An IV indocyanine green dye (known as ICG) uses infrared angiography to see the damaged or remaining healthy tissue, thereby enabling its removal. What makes this technology so great is that the SPY imaging decreases long term complications by removing the tissue most susceptible to be infected by the cancerous cells, and without having to return for another surgery.

In a recently published article in the El Paso Physician magazine, Dr. Agullo and his fellow co-founder of Southwest Plastic Surgery, Dr. Humberto Palladino, both addressed the benefits of SPY imaging technology to breast cancer patients. “The SPY imaging system should be used to prevent complications and increase surgical accuracy in many types of breast reconstruction procedures.”

Dr. Agullo and Dr. Palladino referenced recent evidence that points to the benefits of SPY imaging in other types of plastic surgery as well; as long as there is communication between the surgeon and anesthesiologist during the ICG dye injection. That seems to be the most critical aspect in the delivery of a successful outcome, since the dye pinpoints the regions that must undergo removal prior to the breast reconstruction.

One of the major advantages for the dye is that it is nephrotoxic; therefore it can be used several times during one procedure. A smaller area of removal in the fatty tissues of the breast during surgery can be detected by the SPY imaging system. During clinical studies, it the ICG dye was far more accurate than dyes used in other methods. These new studies have revealed the accuracy of SPY imaging, estimating it to be three times more effective than the methods widely used in the medical industry.

Southwest Plastic Surgery and both Dr. Agullo and Dr. Palladino have won numerous awards in the past year for their excellence in the plastic surgery industry. They are considered to be leaders in the SPY imaging and breast reconstruction field. Women from all over Southwest Texas, New Mexico and even from other states have turned to them to help overcome that final stage of breast cancer where they can trust the team at Southwest Plastic Surgery to bring the “wholeness” back to womanhood through the reconstruction of one or both breasts after beating cancer.