Molecular Breast Imaging Extends Diagnostic Options

April 1, 2016

In January of 2015, Middlesex Hospital changed the face of breast imaging for its patients, with the introduction of Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI) technology. At that time, Middlesex became the first and only hospital in Connecticut to offer MBI with dual-head technology. There are only 20 dual-head MBI machines available for patients worldwide.

Breast Imaging_Middlesexhealth

Molecular Breast Imaging is so important, as it can definitively rule out cancer or detect cancer that may not be identified using other techniques, such as conventional mammography (including three-dimensional mammography, which Middlesex Hospital now offers), ultrasound or MRI.

The MBI equipment looks like a typical mammogram machine, but unlike traditional mammography, the breast does not need to be compressed. Instead, gentle, light pressure is used between two detectors, after a quick injection of a trace material (similar to what is done for a cardiac stress test) to help highlight areas in question.

Although MBI scans do take a bit longer than traditional mammography, the test is more comfortable for patients. MBI is especially effective in diagnosing breast cancer in patients with dense breast tissue. It is used, along with traditional mammography, ultrasound and MRI, to help detect breast cancer in its earliest stages, which can be critical to the success of treatment. MBI also may remove the need for unnecessary biopsies, or for repeat and multiple diagnostic tests.

Since the Hospital acquired the MBI machine, a total of 158 tests have been performed. From those, there were 16 definitive findings of cancer that had been suspected on previous imaging from either mammography or ultrasound; and one finding for cancer that had not been seen on either a mammogram or ultrasound. The remaining number completely ruled out the presence of cancer.

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