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FAQ’s

  1. How long has SAVI been available?
  2. How many women have been treated with SAVI?
  3. What facilities are currently using SAVI?
  4. Am I eligible for treatment with the SAVI applicator?
  5. Is SAVI covered by insurance?
  6. How do 5-day radiation therapy devices like SAVI work?
  7. Is APBI with SAVI effective?
  8. Is the device placed at the time of lumpectomy?
  9. How long can you wait for treatment after lumpectomy?
  10. What does it feel like? Will it hurt?
  11. What can I expect during treatment?
  12. How will the device impact my daily life during treatment?
  13. What are the side effects of treatment with SAVI?
  14. How soon can I return to my normal routine?
  1. How long has SAVI been available?
    SAVI received a 510(k) clearance from the FDA in July 2006 and has been in clinical use since November 2006. Back to top
  2. How many women have been treated with SAVI?
    Over 10,000 women have received treatment with the SAVI applicator since 2006. Back to top
  3. What facilities are currently using SAVI?
    More than 300 facilities nationwide currently offer treatment with the SAVI applicator. To search for facilities in your area, visit our Find a Physician page. If you don’t see a particular facility, contact info@savisisters.com for a complete list of physicians in your area. Back to top
  4. Am I eligible for treatment with the SAVI applicator?
    Eligibility for partial breast radiation with any device is based on a number of factors, including age, tumor size and lymph node involvement. The only way to know for sure if you qualify for treatment with SAVI is to consult your physician.Back to top
  5. Is SAVI covered by insurance?
    SAVI is covered by most insurance plans, including Medicare. Check with your insurance plan for details. Back to top
  6. How do 5-day radiation therapy devices like SAVI work?
    All breast brachytherapy devices offer the convenience of 5-day radiation for eligible patients. SAVI’s multiple catheters and open architecture design allow for the precise delivery of radiation. This precision enables physicians to optimally spare normal tissues, which improves outcomes and increases the number of women who are candidates for the 5-day treatment. You should discuss the benefits of all devices with your physician, who will help determine the best option for you. Back to top
  7. Is APBI with SAVI effective?
    SAVI is a device used for delivering Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (APBI). For select patients, published reports suggest that APBI is associated with high rates of cancer control. Back to top
  8. Is the device placed at the time of lumpectomy?
    Depending on the specific circumstances, SAVI can be placed either at the time of your lumpectomy or under ultrasound guidance in your physician’s office after surgery. While some physicians choose to place it during surgery, a majority of physicians prefer to insert the device post-operatively in an office-based procedure. Back to top
  9. How long can you wait for treatment after lumpectomy?
    While there are no criteria that specify the appropriate length of time between surgery and device placement, most physicians consider the ideal timeframe to be 2-4 weeks after surgery. Back to top
  10. What does it feel like? Will it hurt?
    Clinical studies show that treatment with SAVI is well-tolerated by patients, with a majority of women experiencing little to no discomfort during device placement or removal, or during treatment. Women may experience mild discomfort (pressure) while the device remains in the breast. This is easily managed by taking over the counter analgesics and goes away completely once the device is removed. It is also normal to experience some drainage at the insertion site. Back to top
  11. What can I expect during treatment?

    Once SAVI is in place, you will visit your radiation oncologist where you will receive a CT scan to confirm that SAVI has conformed to the lumpectomy cavity. Using the CT images, your radiation oncologist and the medical physicist will develop your treatment plan. This typically happens within 48 hours of when SAVI was placed, with your first treatment beginning within the next few days. The device will remain in your breast during this time.

    Treatment takes place twice a day over 5 days. Each treatment fraction will be 6 hours apart and lasts approximately5-10 minutes. During treatment, a computer-controlled machine is connected to the ends of the catheters remaining outside of your breast. The machine painlessly places a tiny radioactive seed into each catheter. Radiation does not remain in your body between treatment sessions. A dressing is applied between treatments to help prevent movement or infection.

    Following your last treatment, your physician will close the bundle of catheters and gently remove it through the same incision in which it was inserted. Your physician will dress the incision and you are free to return to your daily activities. Back to top

  12. How will the device impact my daily life during treatment?
    SAVI remains in the breast during the entire course of treatment, so patients must refrain from showering. However, the device is carefully secured with gauze to minimize movement between treatments, and many women report minimal disruption to their daily lives. While some women choose to take time off from work and other activities, others report that they were able to carry on their normal schedules during the 5 days of treatment. See what SAVI Sisters have to say about their experience Back to top
  13. What are the side effects of treatment with SAVI?
    Following treatment, the most common side effects are redness, bruising and discomfort. These do not occur in all patients and are typical side effects associated with any type of radiation therapy. Several studies show that the SAVI applicator’s ability to customize the radiation dose reduces the chances that these side effects will occur. You should talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of treatment with various APBI methods. Back to top
  14. How soon can I return to my normal routine?
    Most women find it possible to resume their normal daily activities immediately following treatment. Be sure to follow physician’s orders regarding follow-up appointments or additional treatments.Back to top