Breast imaging radiologists are clinical experts who work as a team to use best practices for early detection of breast cancer, providing compassionate care and optimal outcomes. RPI breast imaging radiologists do as much to prevent breast cancer as they do to treat it and are a vital part of any women’s complete breast health. They must meet several criteria for quality and adhere to high standards of care.
RPI breast imaging subspecialists work hand in hand on a daily basis with breast surgeons, oncologists, radiation oncologists, OBGYNs, family practitioners, and more. They utilize a variety of procedures, depending on a patient’s needs.
Women’s imaging examinations/procedures include mammography, 3D mammography, ultrasound, MRI, breast biopsy, and breast needle localization. It also includes DEXA scanning, which detects bone mineral density or bone mass in those at risk or suffering from osteoporosis, a disease that often strikes elderly women.
RPI women’s imaging radiologists interpret the following types of exams:
Mammograms, along with monthly breast self-exams (BSE), are tools to assist in the detection of breast cancer. A screening mammogram is used for the screening of asymptomatic women. A diagnostic mammogram is used if suspicious symptoms such as a lump are present, if there is a personal history of breast cancer, or if something potentially abnormal was seen on the screening mammogram. Guidelines from the American College of Radiology (ACR) recommend annual mammograms for women 40 and older.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recommends that women who are at increased risk due to genetic history of breast cancer, or who have had breast cancer, may need mammograms at an earlier age. Be sure to contact your physician if you have a question regarding when you should schedule a mammogram. Do not wear deodorant, talcum powder, or lotion under your arms or upper body on the day of the mammogram. These can distort images and appear on the mammogram as calcium spots. It is also important to obtain prior mammograms for comparison purposes if this was performed at another facility. Make sure that the technologist performing the exam is aware of any symptoms or problems.
Ultrasound is a painless, non-invasive form of imaging that utilizes high-frequency sound waves to obtain a medical image of soft tissue. Ultrasound of the breast can determine whether a mass is cystic or solid and can assist in characterizing whether a mass is likely to be benign or cancerous.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) appears to have a role in the detection and management of some cases of breast cancer. Breast malignancies typically exhibit increased blood flow. This increased blood flow can be demonstrated by injecting a contrast agent while imaging the breast with MRI. The abnormality will be brighter and more intense on the image. MRI has also been proven to be the most accurate exam for evaluating breast implants for possible rupture.
Stereotactic Breast Biopsy
Most suspicious breast abnormalities detected on mammograms are not malignant. A stereotactic breast biopsy involves the nonsurgical evaluation of nonpalpable breast lesions. A specifically designed stereotactic mammography unit provides imaging guidance and allows for the placement of a needle into the center of a breast abnormality that cannot normally be felt. Through the aid of an automatic biopsy device, several cylinders of tissue are removed for evaluation. The patient rests on a table while the breast is imaged digitally and the needle is placed in the center of the abnormality. The procedure accurately identifies benign and malignant abnormalities.
Ultrasound Core Breast Biopsy/Cyst Aspiration
Ultrasound-guided core biopsy has become a significant method in the diagnosis of suspicious breast lesions. Breast cyst aspiration is a simple procedure designed to remove cyst fluid. Using ultrasound guidance, a small needle is inserted through the cyst wall to drain the fluid. Ultrasound can also be used as guidance for core needle biopsy of solid or suspicious areas identified on an ultrasound exam.
Breast Needle Localization
Breast needle localization is a procedure performed prior to breast surgery to assist the surgeon in localizing a non-palpable or previously biopsied area in the breast.
Osteoporosis & Bone Densitometry
Osteoporosis is a disabling disease that causes bones to become brittle, particularly among elderly women. Bones weakened by mineral loss are prone to fractures, particularly in the spine and hips. Symptoms include curvature of the spine, back pain, and loss of height. Low bone density is most commonly measured by a dual x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan, which detects bone mineral density or bone mass. The scan uses very low dose radiation, along with highly sophisticated computerized analysis to provide reference information. The test is simple and painless.