Breast MRI enhances breast cancer detection
Physicians at Baptist Health Louisville now have another tool for breast cancer surveillance and screening: breast MRI. The new procedure, made available to patients in October 2007, uses magnetic waves to detect smaller breast cancers and those that may not be seen on mammograms or could be obscured by dense tissue.
Physicians urge that breast MRI is not a replacement for mammography, ultrasound or breast biopsy, but a different tool to image the breast – to see what may be present and need to be evaluated.
One advantage is that because breast MRI uses magnetic waves, there’s no potentially harmful radiation involved for the patient. It’s also a non-invasive way to look inside the breast for abnormalities.
During the procedure, the patient lies on her stomach, with both breasts positioned in a recessed area surrounded by the breast coil. (The coil sends and receives radio waves within the magnetic field of the MRI to create the images.) The platform is then moved into the opening of the magnet, where the patient must lie still for up to 15 minutes at a time. The entire procedure takes only 45 to 60 minutes.
Candidates for breast MRI include women with a diagnosis of breast cancer, those at increased risk for breast cancer and women with implants.
Breast MRI is used not only for cancer detection, but also can be used before and after treatment to evaluate its effectiveness, allowing the patient and her doctor to make more informed decisions.
Breast MRI requires a physician referral. Physician offices can schedule patients by calling (502) 897-8888.