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Q: What kind of breast imaging do I need?
A: The American Cancer Society recommends that women over the age of 40 get yearly screening mammograms. Screening mammograms are routine exams performed for women without symptoms. Once the radiologist has interpreted the routine exam, he or she may request additional imaging in order to complete the exam. A return appointment will be scheduled. During that time the technologist may perform additional images, or an ultrasound exam. The radiologist will be reviewing your exam and communicate results to you and your doctor at that time. A diagnostic mammogram is an appointment performed for those with symptoms, such as a lump or other breast changes. Any additional work-up will be performed at that time and the radiologist will review and provide same day results.
An MRI exam of the breast may also be recommended as an additional diagnostic tool. Depending on the results of these additional tests, a breast biopsy may be recommended, using Ultrasound, MRI, or Stereotactic guidance. All of these procedures can be performed at our facility.
A: Ultrasound is especially helpful when imaging dense breast tissue. Ultrasound creates an image that allows the radiologist
to distinguish between a fluid filled cyst and a solid mass. Mammograms do not make this distinction. Ultrasound cannot replace mammograms as they are
best suited to show overall breast patterns and calcifications. Often breast abnormalities that are suspicious on a mammogram can be identified as benign following an ultrasound examination. Benign breast abnormalities can include cysts, enlarged ducts, or benign solid masses.
Q: How is MRI used in breast imaging?
A: MRI of the breast is not a replacement for mammography or ultrasound imaging but rather a supplemental tool for detecting and staging breast cancer and other breast abnormalities. For example, it’s used to assess multiple tumor locations or determine whether cancer detected by mammography, ultrasound, or a recent surgical biopsy has spread further into the breast or into the chest wall.
Q: Why would Dakota Radiology be a good choice for my breast biopsy?
A: Image-guided needle breast biopsy is an alternative to the more invasive surgical biopsy. Ultrasound, Stereotactic, or MRI demonstrates the area of concern and provides accurate guidance during the sampling. The radiologist that has read your mammogram is able to perform the procedure at our facility, frequently on the same day. In addition, there is no scarring, it is a shorter procedure, you may return to normal activities, and it is more cost effective than a surgical biopsy.