MRI System for Breast Imaging and Intervention at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center
Breast Magnetic Resonance (MR) Imaging has gained significant attention in the past three years resulting in many facilities increasing their number of patient scans by over 400 percent. This requires special attention to patient and physician workflow in order to accommodate the increase demand.
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, a Center of Excellence in Toronto, Canada, is committed to women’s health. Their program is a leader in the field, which is helping to achieve their vision of transforming healthcare. They realized several years ago the need for optimizing their Breast MR Imaging and Intervention program for high-risk patients. They have now incorporated use of the Sentinelle Medical Vanguard Breast MR Imaging and Intervention System. With its unique Variable Coil Geometry they are able to obtain higher signal-to-noise ratios over any other breast system available. What this means to their workflow is faster scan times and higher patient throughput.
The number of patients receiving MRI-guided biopsies has quadrupled since 2001 claims Dr. Petrina Causer, a radiologist and associate scientist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center. “We are biopsying smaller and smaller lesions and require the necessary setup, imaging protocols and biopsy systems to allow us to get these lesions.”
When routinely targeting three and four millimeter lesions, Dr. Causer requires solid compression and a large grid for accessing all quadrants of the breast. “The Vanguard allows us to target lesions in the upper outer and upper inner quadrants of the breast,” noted Dr. Causer, “where other available systems have little or no medial access for biopsy.”
Joan Glazier, chief technologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, has been integral in optimizing the breast MR interventions. She believes that one of the most important aspects of MR-guided biopsies is patient preparation. “We have the ability to prepare our patients in a room outside of the MR suite,” stated Glazier. “It is easier and faster to set the patients up when they are not being intimidated by the sights and sounds of an MRI.” This means a total reduction of time in the MR Suite by 15-20 minutes.
The Vanguard resembles a stereotactic breast biopsy table that allows the technologist to pull breast tissue away from the chest wall. The interventional grids can move both medially and laterally, as well as anteriorly and posteriorly. Glazier uses one hand to hold the breast and the other hand to move the grids and lock them into place. “We can have absolutely no movement of the breast or the interventional grid during our procedures,” said Glazier. “This system is extremely sturdy so we have never had an issue of the grids moving during our procedures.”
Both Drs. Causer and Glazier are part of the Clinical Breast Imaging Research Team at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center. They have published several articles on Breast MR Imaging and Intervention and understand the importance of high-quality imaging, full access for intervention and patient comfort.