Does breast MRI aid surgical planning?

Author(s): Dr Emily Daulton, Dr Philippa Skippage

Hospital: Frimley Park Hospital

Reference: RAD Magazine, 45, 533, 14-16

Excerpt: 

The clinical demand for MRI in the investigation of patients with breast disease is rising. There is an increasing reliance on the imaging technique by the surgical team in planning operative techniques due to the advantages it offers over conventional imaging.

With the advent of more refined oncoplastic surgical techniques, increasingly precise radiotherapy and targeted chemotherapy, the rates of mastectomy operations are reducing. There is robust research showing that there is no significant difference between mastectomy and breast conserving surgery (BCS) in long-term mortality in tumours less than 3cm. However, this places pressure on diagnostic imaging to ensure that the full extent of the disease is realised before treatment delivery. MRI offers the most sensitive modality for cancer detection and the ability to demonstrate abnormality in multiple planes is hugely advantageous to surgeons, allowing optimal treatment for the patient. This article discusses the main situations where MRI will impact on patient surgical management.

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