Breast Imaging Modalities

Breast Imaging Modalities

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A brief summary of the advantages and disadvantages of current breast imaging modalities for early detection of breast cancer

Comparing manual examination, x-ray mammography, ultrasound, MRI, and infrared mammography

 

Technology

Advantages

Disadvantages

Manual Examination • inexpensive or no cost • limited to palpable lumps
• can be done on a regular basis without the assistance of a medical professional
X-ray Mammography 

 

• well-known and accepted • poor rate of detection
• large existing installed base • high false positive rate
• existing reimbursement codes • requires subjective interpretation by a skilled radiologist
• relatively inexpensive • exposes patient to ionizing radiation
• requires a skilled technician
• requires significant and often painful breast compression
• not recommended for women under 40
• not usable for pregnant women
• shows only generalized size, shape and location—structure not physiology
Ultrasound • well-known and accepted • requires a skilled technician
• large existing installed base • relatively expensive
• existing reimbursement codes • time consuming
• is not a practical screening tool
• requires subjective interpretation by a skilled physician
MRI • well-known and accepted • high false positive rate
• existing reimbursement codes • expensive
• not suitable for general screening
• time consuming
• exposes patient to strong electromagnetic fields
Infrared Mammography™ 

 

• has a high positive detection rate • no existing reimbursement code
• can detect low levels of neoplastic activity
• extremely small false positive rate
• does not expose the patient to ionizing radiation
• does not required a skilled technician
• does not require subjective interpretation by a skill radiologist
• is not invasive
• does not require breast compression
• is suitable for young women and pregnant women
• is relatively inexpensive
• output data is already in digital format