Helen Keller Hospital to Offer GE Molecular Breast Imaging

March 25, 2013

Sheffield, Ala. - Helen Keller Hospital's Imaging Department will soon be the first facility in the southeast to offer Molecular Breast Imaging utilizing GE Healthcare's Discovery™ NM 750b. This new addition becomes part of Keller's comprehensive imaging technology, including Digital Mammography, Ultrasound, CT, and MRI.

Molecular breast imaging (MBI) looks similar to and replicates the views acquired by mammography, without x-ray radiation. It offers a clearer picture for women diagnosed with dense breast tissue and detects as many cancers in women with dense breast tissue as traditional mammography. This allows detection of breast cancer at its earliest stage, which is critical to the success of treatment. Breast density can overlap lesions, making them harder to find with traditional mammography. MBI is less susceptible to breast density and has been shown in clinical situations to accurately detect cancerous lesions over 90% of the time. Like mammography, MBI requires that the breast be compressed between two plates. However, MBI only needs about 1/3 of the pressure used for a mammogram.

Prior to the imaging, a short-lived radioactive tracer is injected into the patient's arm vein. Two ten-minute images are taken of each breast. Radiation levels from MBI are comparable to the dose that is delivered from one digital screening mammogram. If tumor cells are present, they absorb the tracer and illuminate on the image.

MBI is used to supplement mammography, which remains as the primary and accurate screening tool in breast imaging. MBI is an option for those with pacemakers, metal implants or other foreign bodies, which may prohibit traditional mammography. It is also an option for patients who are claustrophobic, have silicone implants, or whose size exceeds the allowable limit for MRI.

"We are very pleased to offer patients in our community this new, highly sophisticated form of testing that can help detect breast cancer at its earliest stages," said Doug Arnold, president and CEO of Helen Keller Hospital. "This technology allows us to offer our patients improved medical care. Helen Keller Hospital remains committed to bringing patients in our community the best technology and the greatest quality of care."