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Surgical planning improved with BSGI

Also known as Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI), a study has found that adding Breast-Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI) to conventional mammography and ultrasound can provide critical pre-surgical planning information for newly-diagnosed women.

A review of clinician records dating from 2009 from the Scripps Clinic in San Diego found that BSGI confirmed, clarified, or contributed to findings from conventional imaging in 75 percent of patients for whom it was used. In 20 percent of cases, it identified an additional lesion or significantly changed treatment. In 25 percent of patients, BSGI led to additional biopsies or work-ups.

Especially for young women with dense breast tissue, the study concluded that BSGI is a cost-effective, well-tolerated, and reasonably sensitive method for assisting doctors and patients with pre-surgical planning.

“Like all breast imaging modalities, BSGI will not identify all cancers,” explains Marie Tartar, M.D., assistant clinical professor in the Department of Radiology at the University of California, San Diego. “However, we have found in selected patients needing further evaluation for persistent questions after conventional breast imaging work-up (mammogram and/or ultrasound), BSGI can be useful and may be the first modality to indicate the presence of a breast cancer. Based on our results, BSGI seems to be an acceptable alternative to pre-operative local staging of breast cancer, if additional imaging beyond mammography and ultrasound is indicated, and a patient cannot or prefers not to undergo MRI," said Tartar.

BSGI works by using a camera to help physicians more clearly differentiate benign from malignant tissue. In the procedure, patients receive a pharmaceutical tracing agent that is absorbed by all the body’s cells. Cancerous cells absorb more of the tracing agent that normal cells, and generally appear as dark spots on the BSGI image.

More information about BSGI imaging is available through Medscape, and through this article in the Sacramento Bee.

December 9, 2012