Breast Cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in India. The cases of breast cancer are on the rise and is now seen even in younger women. Females who have a family history of Breast Cancer - in their mother, maternal aunt, maternal grandmother should be extra cautious about any kind of breast lump. If a female feels pain in the breast, any lump, discharge from the nipples or change in the shape and size of the breast then she should immediatly consult a breast specialist. Breast Specialists are different from Gynaecologists and are mostly general surgeons or onco surgeons. Breast lumps can be benign or malignant.
Females below the age 40 have dense breasts which are better visualized on Ultrasound. Females above the age of 40 years should get Mammography test on the advise of a breast specialist. The field of mammography has seen vast changes since the days of analog machines which had poor imaging quality.
Other investigations which are of use in cases of breast lumps are FNAC and Breast Biopsy but both of them are invasive in nature.
MRI Breast is one of the best test for diagnosing the breast lumps and that too non-invasively. However not all MRI centres are capable of doing Breast MRI in an effective manner because they do not have a dedicated breast coil. Most of the centres are doing Breast MRI by using a Flex coil which does not give adequate information as a dedicated Breast Coil would do. We are using dedicated Breast Coil in combination with special breast imaging softwares for accurate diagnosis of breast diseases.
You would be required to come in fasting as Breast MRI is mostly done using contrast. In MRI we can use Gadonlinium contrast as compared to the Iodized Contrast in CT Scan which is less harmful for patients having poor kidney function. During the MRI exam, you would be in a room which has strong magnetic field. You should not be wearing any jewellery and should inform the technician if you have any kind of implant inside your body. In any case our technician would be checking you with a metal detector before taking you inside the magnet room. During the examination you are lying face down with your breasts being placed in the coil which is a cup shaped structure. This is an inconvenient position but our MRI machine would complete the study in 15 minutes to reduce your discomfort.
You are advised to leave your mobile phone, wallet and all clothes inside a locker which is provided to you. You would be given a hospital gown to wear for the test. There is a humming sound which resembles the sound of a running train while the exam is going on. You would be given ear plugs to minimize this sound. You would be required to go inside a cylinderical tunnel and lie still while the exam is going on. On completion of the test, you can change into your own clothes and leave for your home. The MRI Breast exam will produce several hundred images which will be reviewed by the radiologist and the report would be made available within 24 hours of the scanning.
MRI Machines are of two types - Permanent Magnet and Superconducting Magnet. The Permanent Magnet MRI or Open MRI as it is called comes in two strengths - 0.2 Tesla and 0.3 Tesla. The Superconducting Magnet comes in strengths of 1.5 Tesla and 3.0 Tesla. Tesla is the unit for magnetic strength. The common belief is that higher the Tesla, better is the imaging quality but this is not the case. Higher magnetic strength can produce greater noise and result in lower signal to noise ratio. MRI of the Brain, Joints and Spine can be done equally well on a 0.3 Tesla Permanent Magnet as it is done on a 1.5 Tesla Magnet. However inner ear imaging is best done on a 3 Tesla MRI. Many doctors would prescribe MRI scan on a 3 Tesla Machine without knowing the difference in imaging quality. The quality of imaging also depends on the quality of coils, channels in the machine and specialized applications for doing the scanning. Finally the quality of reporting is of paramount importance in any MRI Imaging. At EHL Diagnostics we have the optimum combination of all these factors. We have all types of machines at different centres. So patients who are claustrophobic, are advised to get their MRI on open magnet of 0.3 Tesla. Patients who require extensive testing like MRI brain and whole spine would do better to go for MRI Scan on 16 Channel Machine.
The cost of Contrast MRI Breast at our centres is in the range of Rs. 12,500 - 15,000. We are using a dedicated breast coil which has far superior results as compared to a flex coil for doing Breast MRI.