A new imaging technique - Breast Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI), is a functional imaging technology that can aid in the diagnosis of breast cancer, as a complement to mammography, when a mammogram is inconclusive; revealing important information that can help determine if an area of concern is cancerous or not.
BSGI has similar imaging characteristics of Breast MRI in its sensitivity and specificity. There are many uses for BSGI including patients with implants, family history of breast cancer, and patients with difficult mammograms due to dense breast tissue. It is best used as a problem solving technology, not for screening purposes, to help characterize a suspected lesion in women with dense breast tissue or multiple mammographic lumps that are not able to be differentiated by ultrasound. It is also an excellent tool to evaluate patients with breast related symptoms such as pain and pulling. For patients who are claustrophobic, have a pacemaker or other metal inside of their body, or are otherwise unable to have an MRI examination due to the use of the strong magnets, BSGI will provide similar information as a Breast MRI.
From a patient's perspective, BSGI is a study that is done more quickly and easily than an MRI. The exam is also less expensive than MRI and is covered by Medicare and Medicaid, as well as most private insurance carriers. However, the use of Breast MRI remains a key technology, particularly in those patients being evaluated preoperatively, after the initial diagnosis of cancer is made. And, MRI is still the best study to evaluate response to treatment when a patient is undergoing chemotherapeutic intervention prior to or after surgery.
Clinical Indications for BSGI include:
- Radiodense breast difficult to image.
- Evaluation of multifocal lesions or multiple clusters of microcalcifications.
- Palpable mass not demonstrated in mammogram or ultrasound.
- Evaluation of suspect lesions identified by mammography.
- Post surgical or post therapeutic evaluation of mass.
- Disease staging for breast conserving surgery.
What should I expect
BSGI uses a specially designed camera that allows for capturing metabolic images of the breast. A small amount of a tracing agent will be injected into the arm which is absorbed by all the cells of the body. Because cancerous cells have a higher rate of metabolic activity, the tracing agent usually concentrates in these cells to a much greater degree than in normal cells. The gamma camera then images the breast to visualize any cells that have been highlighted by the tracing agent.
During the examination, the breast is supported between the camera and a top plate without much compression, making it very comfortable for the patient. Each image can take 5 to 10 minutes to acquire, depending on the protocol used. The results are generated on a computer screen and can be manipulated for interpretation by our radiologist.
How do I prepare
There is no special preparation for a BSGI. As with a mammogram, the patient will be asked to remove clothing from the waist up and to change into a gown that open in the front. Be sure to inform the radiologist if you are pregnant or think you could be.
How and when will I know the results
After your study is over, the images will be evaluated by one of our Board-Certified Radiologists, with expertise in breast imaging. A final report will be sent to your physician who can then discuss the results with you in detail.
Please contact our Imaging Center at Cypress at 316-858-5200 if you have any questions about BSGI. For all other questions, please see our contact us page.