Breast MRI of Oklahoma at Mercy Women’s Center is the state’s first health care facility to receive accreditation in breast MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) from the American College of Radiology (ACR). This recently instituted accreditation program is based on a facility’s quality assurance programs, equipment and the expertise of its technologists and interpreting radiologists.
Breast MRI is a relatively new development in breast imaging and one that is especially important for women at high risk for breast cancer due to its ability to detect even the smallest abnormalities at the earliest possible stage. And while MRI complements Mercy’s two basic breast imaging tools – mammography and ultrasound – it far surpasses them in detecting cancer.
“MRI, by itself, finds more cancers than the other two screening methods combined,” said Alan Hollingsworth, M.D., medical director of Breast MRI of Oklahoma at Mercy.
Breast MRI of Oklahoma has performed more than 12,000 breast MRIs, and over 400 MRI-guided breast biopsies, since the program began in 2003. The facility utilizes one of the most advanced breast-dedicated MRIs on the market – the Aurora® 1.5 Dedicated Breast MRI System with RODEO™ and EDGE ™ software. This system offers patients a more comfortable MRI experience while providing clinicians images with superior resolution and clarity. It’s designed to detect cancers that may be missed through traditional mammography or clinical examinations.
“The reason MRI is so effective in cancer detection is that hundreds of image ‘slices’ are made of the breast, which allows us to evaluate even the densest tissue,” said Rebecca Stough, M.D., clinical director of Breast MRI of Oklahoma at Mercy. “Even more helpful is the injection of gadolinium dye that makes cancer ‘light up’ on MRI. These attributes give MRI a 90 to 95 percent sensitivity for the detection of cancer, whereas mammography is more in the range of 40 percent in head-to-head comparisons.”
Mercy’s breast MRI program is complemented by its capabilities in MRI-guided breast biopsy – a minimally invasive technique that leaves little or no scarring and can be performed in less than an hour.
“One of the most important aspects of any breast MRI program is that the facility have MRI-guided biopsy capability and expertise,” said Dr. Stough. “The ability to perform an MRI biopsy means that a patient doesn’t have to switch facilities mid-stream if an abnormality is found.”
Michele Yesalusky, who managed the ACR accreditation process, added, “Breast MRI of Oklahoma at Mercy was the first facility in the nation to receive accreditation from the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Magnetic Resonance Laboratories – formerly the only accrediting organization for breast MRI.”