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Breast Imaging

Breast MRI, ultrasound and biopsy

Gathering more information is the best way to diagnose an abnormality in breast tissue. Diagnostic imaging such as MRI and ultrasound both provide a look inside your body to better see anything that is out of the ordinary. A biopsy can also provide more information to help diagnose and treat anything that may be a threat to your health.

Breast MRI
Breast MRI scans are used to further inspect suspicious areas that are difficult to identify on mammograms. These may be necessary for dense breast tissue, to assist in primary or recurrent breast cancer detection, to determine the extent of breast cancer or to help determine appropriate treatment options.

In addition, breast MRI is helpful in monitoring breast cancer therapy, especially chemotherapy treatment that occurs prior to surgery. It is also the most reliable method to determine implant rupture or leakage.

Reasons your provider may order a breast MRI:

  • High-risk screening
  • History of cancer or new cancer diagnosis
  • Re-evaluation following pre-surgical chemotherapy
  • Palpable lump not seen on mammogram or ultrasound
  • Implant evaluation

Breast Ultrasound and Biopsy
Ultrasound, also known as sonography, uses high frequency sound waves to outline an internal part of the body. After passing through the designated area, these sound waves are then picked up and translated by a computer so the image can be displayed on a monitor. You are not exposed to radiation during this test.

Sometimes an ultrasound is used to help collect abnormal breast tissue for a biopsy. This procedure involves a radiologist taking samples of abnormal tissue through a needle while being guided by ultrasound imaging. There are several different biopsy devices that may be used to remove tissue samples, which are then tested to determine if it is cancerous.

Reasons your provider may order a breast ultrasound:

  • A diagnostic ultrasound of a specific area to further evaluate an area of concern identified on a mammogram, to evaluate an area of concern if you are under 30, if you are pregnant or if you had a normal mammogram and found a new lump.
  • A full ultrasound scanning of both breasts for women who have an increased risk of breast cancer. This screening ultrasound does not replace the recommended annual mammogram. Generally done six months after a normal mammogram, this screening will be coordinated by your provider. This may not be covered by your insurance. For questions about coverage under your specific plan, please contact your insurance provider directly. The contact number for your insurance provider can be found on the back of your insurance card.

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