Edward-Elmhurst Health first in Chicago area with Molecular Breast Imaging

January 04, 2019

Edward-Elmhurst Health is first health system in the Chicago area to acquire the latest in breast imaging technology – Molecular Breast Imaging or MBI. This new technology supports mammography by helping to detect breast cancer in women with dense breast tissue, in those who previously had breast cancer, are BRCA positive or those with inconclusive mammography results.

The Discovery NM750b nuclear imaging system from GE Healthcare uses innovative and leading-edge technology to help improve diagnostic accuracy in all types of patients. While mammography is still the gold standard for the early detection of breast cancer, this technology has the ability to more accurately detect tumors early and, if malignancies are found, it can determine the extent of the disease that otherwise may have been missed with mammography alone.

“The primary benefit of Molecular Breast Imaging is that it acts a supplemental screening device in patients who have dense breast tissue,” says Dr. Darius Gilvydis, Medical Director, Edward Hospital Women’s Imaging Center. “The reason that’s important is that dense breast tissue is recognized as a risk factor for breast cancer.”

In addition to patients with dense breast tissue, MBI may benefit patients with:

  • Persistent breast pain or a palpable finding, but mammograms with no abnormality
  • Breast reduction or augmentation
  • Increased risk of breast cancer but unable to undergo MRI (due to claustrophobia or implanted devices that preclude an MRI)

MBI exams themselves are similar to mammograms but the compression is about 30 percent less, so patients experience less discomfort during the exam. In addition, patients are able to sit comfortably during the procedure.

Patients undergoing MBI are given an injection of a short-lived radioactive tracer agent, similar to those used in cardiac stress testing, which accumulates in the tumor cells and shows up as hot spots in the resulting images.

The gamma camera used in MBI differentiates between tumors and dense breast tissue, unlike the X-ray imagery used in mammography. MBI technology is designed to provide similar views to that of a mammogram, giving the physician the ability to compare images from similar perspectives. 

MBI requires a physician order. A recent mammogram must be completed prior to MBI.  

Learn more about breast health at Edward-Elmhurst Health. To learn your risk for breast cancer, take a 5-minute online risk assessment. Edward-Elmhurst Health offers no-referral screening mammograms that you can schedule online.