Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is still relatively new in its application in breast imaging, but has proven to be a valuable tool in screening women who are determined to be at high risk for breast cancer, and it is effective in specific clinical indications in women already diagnosed with a breast malignancy. Identification of women at high risk for breast cancer is critical, as early screening and detection of lesions can be life saving. MRI holds several advantages over traditional mammography or ultrasound in the imaging of high-risk women, including high resolution, high sensitivity for lesion detection, even in dense breast tissue, and the ability to avoid repeated exposure to radiation. However, as with any imaging technique, there are important considerations when selecting MRI alone or as an adjunct to other imaging modalities. This article discusses identification of women at high risk for breast cancer, as well as guidelines and recommendations for appropriate screening using MRI along with mammography and other imaging in high-risk patients. We also review the ways in which breast MRI can assist in evaluating the extent of disease in patients who have a confirmed breast cancer lesion. Lastly, we discuss the important role of patient care in MRI, including the unique safety factors that must be considered when performing MRI of the breast.
After reading this article, the participant should be able to:
- Identify the current indications for breast MRI and breast cancer screening recommendations for high-risk patients.
- Describe the results of recent clinical trials that have evaluated the effectiveness of breast MRI in the detection of breast cancer.
- Discuss the clinical indications and limitations of breast MRI.
- Explain the unique patient care considerations for breast MRI and the use of gadolinium.
Categories: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Professional Development/Patient Care Quality