Since its introduction in the 1990s, breast MRI has made significant advances. Because of the unparalleled ability of MRI to characterize soft tissue, breast MRI is able to detect breast cancer in ways that mammography and ultrasound cannot. In order to be most effective, breast MRI requires the injection of intravenous contrast material.
In 2007, the American Cancer Society recommended the use of breast MRI as an adjunct screening tool to mammography for women with certain risk factors for breast cancer including those with certain known genetic mutations (either in themselves or first-degree relatives) and those whose calculated lifetime risk for developing breast cancer exceeded 20% . Since then, breast MRI has proven its worth in finding many unsuspected cancers and may soon be recommended for “average risk” women.
Currently, most breast surgeons will order a breast MRI for patients with newly diagnosed breast cancer in order to assess the extent of disease and uncover possible co-existing but unsuspected second cancers prior to surgery. Breast MRI is also used to follow cancer patients who receive neoadjuvant chemotherapy (chemotherapy before surgery) in order to assess response to treatment and help guide surgery.
Tristan Radiology Specialists was the first facility in the greater Harrisburg area to be accredited by the American College of Radiology for breast MRI (in 2010). We offer breast MRI every day at our Union Deposit office on our 1.5 T Toshiba Titan magnet using our state-of-the-art 7-channel Sentinelle breast coil. We also offer MR-guided breast biopsies.