Breast MRI in Santa Fe at XRANM

Women who’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer have a friend in the breast MRI in Santa Fe at X-Ray Associates of New Mexico.

This diagnostic can detect occult cancers which don’t show up in other testing, revealing underlying cancer in 15 – 30% of women, in the affected breast.  Additionally, it identifies cancer in the opposite breast in 3 – 7% of cases.

This sensitivity of the breast MRI serves to reduce recurrence.  It also offers doctors another point of reference when determining the type of surgical intervention best pursued.

But Hasn’t the Cancer Already Been Found?

Yes, but breast cancer has many faces.  The breast MRI detects occult (hidden) cancer which may not be identifiable with other diagnostic tools.  The largest subgroup of cancer is invasive breast cancer, comprising about 70% of all cases, with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), at 20% of cases.

The breast MRI can detect invasive cancer at a sensitivity of 89 to 100%.  For non-invasive DCIS, up to 40% of cases can be diagnosed using only the breast MRI.

Being diagnosed with breast cancer and having access to this sophisticated diagnostic improves prognosis dramatically for the future.

Supportive Diagnostics

The efficacy of the breast MRI is even greater when supported by prior results from mammograms and ultrasounds.  That’s why these tests are done first.

Sometimes, patients are asked to revisit these diagnostics after their breast MRIs.  This is to conduct the tests in specific areas of the implicated breast, which is far more reliable than generalized testing for both mammograms and ultrasounds.

When a Breast MRI Is Indicated

Newly diagnosed patients benefit from this test, as it provides doctors with a tool which can reveal the extent of the disease.  When patients are undergoing chemotherapy, the breast MRI can evaluate their responses to the therapy and evaluate post-operative success when surgery has been performed.

The breast MRI also allows technicians to readily differentiate between scar tissue and the recurrence of cancer.

High risk patients benefit, as occult primary tumors are more readily detectable when an abnormal lymph node or nodes is/are found.

The Procedure

The patient is asked to lie on a table, face down.  This table slides into a large tube with magnetic properties.

Some patients will receive an injection of gadolinium, which is a contrast agent with few contraindications, save those for people with kidney failure.

As the examination proceeds, patients are asked to be as still as possible, as the machine takes images.  Motion can cause blurring of the images, making interpretation difficult.

Some patients are anxious about the breast MRI, due to the restrictive space inside the machine.  For these patients, an oral anti-anxiety medication will be administered.  If you’re one of them, you should arrange to have a friend of family member drive you home.

The images taken are sequenced, lasting from 1 to 15 minutes for each sequence.  The machinery makes considerable noise as this happens, so patients are offered head phones with music for their 30 – 45-minute sessions.

Contact the team at XRANM to find out more.