By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A tiny piece of technology is decreasing time in the hospital and increasing success rates for lumpectomies.

It’s a tiny reflector the size of a grain of rice that helps surgeons to accurately locate breast cancer tumors that can be hard to detect. It’s an alternative to the traditional practice of inserting a thin wire into the breast the same day as surgery.

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The reflector can be placed a month before surgery.

Carolyn Sue Murray had the reflector placed before her breast cancer surgery.

“The new procedure made a whole lot more sense to me,” she said.

Doctors say the new technology localizes the cancer more accurately.

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“It places a tiny little marker that sends a signal to a console that we use in the operating room that will tell me exactly where that spot is without a wire in place,” Dr. Christopher Menendez, a breast cancer surgeon, said.

Doctors say another advantage with the reflector is patients can avoid having to have two procedures in the same day when using the wire.

“Of all the advancements that are coming along in breast cancer surgery, this is really the wave of the future when it comes to localizing and finding the breast cancer in the breast at surgery,” Dr. Menedez explained.

The technology is very nice but it is catching on around the country pretty quickly.

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Doctors also say the device has the potential to cut down on surgical delays and may lead to less tissue needing to be removed for a better appearance after surgery.

Stephanie Stahl