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WellStar Health System uses multiple scanners for breast MRI

Best Practice
Ruplin, Barbara, R.T. WellStar Health System • USA
Brantley, Steve, M.D. WellStar Health System • USA

Large health system benefits from multiple scanners for breast MRI

Utilizing 12 Philips scanners in five hospitals and seven imaging centers, WellStar Health System (Atlanta, Georgia, USA) scanned more than 27,000 patients last year. An average of 74 exams a month were for breast patients, referred primarily from breast surgeons in the area for initial diagnosis, pre-surgery, follow-up and monitoring.



 Barbara Ruplin, RT Steve Brantley, MD WellStar Kennestone Hospital
Barbara Ruplin, RT
Steve Brantley, MD
WellStar Kennestone Hospital


Barbara Ruplin, RT (MR), clinical imaging specialist at WellStar, explains, 'The surgeons around here are convinced of the importance of MRI after diagnosis to check for contralateral lesions, and we accommodate patients by having a center as close as possible for their breast exam.' She says the decision on where to send patients for breast scans is generally one of convenience and patient preference.

WellStar's 3.0T, 1.5T and Panorama HFO systems meet the needs of the health system very nicely, she says. 'The doctors love the image quality on the 3.0T system, and we get good resolution on our 1.5T as well. Our two HFOs are very helpful for claustrophobic women and very large women; some have traveled up to 60 miles to be scanned on one of our HFOs.'

Steve Brantley, MD, mammographer for Quantum Radiology, one of the largest radiology groups in Georgia, says he directs most of his breast imaging to WellStar's 3.0T system. 'The 3.0T is a workhorse because of its speed and robustness. We get much better SNR, and the images are homogeneous in nature. The pathology is much more apparent to us at 3.0T.


Biopsy work made easier with MammoTrak

At WellStar Kennestone Hospital, an Achieva 3.0T system and MammoTrak patient support system enable high quality breast imaging, and MammoTrak offers more efficient use of the MRI system, specifically if teh technologist needs to spend more time with the patients as in breast biopsies. WellStar Kennestone Hospital has performed 270 breast biopsies so far, 100 of which were in fiscal year 2010.

'We perform MR-guided biopsy on any woman with a lesion that isn't visible by mammogram or ultrasound,' says Ms. Ruplin. 'MammoTrak saves us time in the imaging room and allows us to undock from the scanner and slide the patient into another room for removal of the instruments and recovery. The lighted 7-channel coil really makes a difference, as does the ability to adjust the grid so we can biopsy more posterior lesions.'


Protocol consistent

WellStar radiologists want consistency in the scans across the health system, but scan protocols are slightly adjusted for each field strenght, says Ms. Ruplin. 'We do an axial T2 with fat suppression on every scanner, and we're using teh VISTA high resolution T2 3D sequence on all our systems, as well as a T1 axial high resolution, and a dynamic high resolution e-THRIVE, and we add an oblique sagittal high resolution e-THRIVE of each breast, to open up the axillary area. Then we do reformats of our first dynamic in the sagittal plane.'

'If the patient has implants, the silicone sequence is added, which is a dual-inversion recovery that is optimized for silicone, and dual inversion for each breast in the sagittal plane. About 15 patients a year have a rupture exam only, which is a T1 axial high-res, a T2, and the silicone sequence.'

'Protocols are standardized across the system, but when new sequences or techniques come out we evaluate them and incorporate them at the radiologist's discretion,' Ms. Ruplin adds. 'I also check NetForum on a regular basis to see if other Philips users have anything better'.



 T2 VISTA High resolution T2W High resolution e-THRIVE
T2 VISTA
High resolution T2W
High resolution e-THRIVE

50-year old female with a history of left breast ductal carcinoma in situ, status post lumpectomy, radiation, and hormonal therapy. Images show that the breasts are composed of dense fibroglandular tissue. Diffuse T2 hyperintensity seen in the left breast is fibroglandular tissues, likely a sequela of prior radiation. Diagnosis is BI-RADS 2, benign. Achieva 3.0T, MammoTrak with 16-channel SENSE Breast coil. High resolution VISTA 0.76 mm x 0.76 mm x 0.76 mm in 2:46 min. Dynamic e-THRIVE of same resolution in 1:06 min. per dynamic.



 T2 VISTA e-THRIVE
T2 VISTA
e-THRIVE

48-year old female with a history of lobular carcinoma left breast, post mastectomy and TRAM flap reconstruction in 2008, now presents for MRI with a palpable mass 11 o'clock radiant of the reconstruction. In the images the post left mastectomy changes and TRAM flap reconstruction are clearly visualized. No abnormal areas are seen, specifically involving either the chest wall or at the 11 o'clock radiant. Diagnosis is BI-RADS 2, benign. Panormama HFO, ST SENSE Breast coil used.




 T2 VISTA e-THRIVE
T2 VISTA
e-THRIVE

39-year old female with strong family history of breast cancer and multiple cysts. In the left breast, a mass measuring 6 mm is seen at the 2 o'clock anterior position and recommendation for MRI-guided biopsy was given. Diagnosis is BI-RADS 4. Achieva 1.5T with 7-channel SENSE Breast coil. Axial e-THRIVE sequences were employed along with high resolution T2 VISTA and oblique sagittal e-THRIVE.


Philips driving 3.0T breast MRI


Next year, WellStar will open a new outpatient pavilion on the Kennestone campus, which will include an Achieva 3.0T TX with MultiTransmit. 'The 3.0T TX really improves homogeneity in breast imaging at 3.0T,' says Ms. Ruplin.

Dr. Brantley agrees. 'After our experience with our current 3.0T we realized there was no going back, so we're putting a 3.0T TX in the new center. I think Philips is on the right track with breast MRI, and our breast surgeons are becoming believers in the continued development of breast MRI. They've made breast MRI and MR-guided biopsy an integral part of their work.'


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Mar 20, 2012

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Best Practice
Achieva 1.5T, Achieva 3.0T, Achieva 3.0T TX, Panorama HFO
biopsy, Body, breast, mammotrak, MultiTransmit, Women's health
 

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