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New MRI technique could mean fewer breast biopsies in high-risk women
Date:7/7/2009

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An MR image is made up of thousands of smaller pieces of information. The conventional data-acquisition method gathers that information slowly, and it's designed to be viewed from a single imaging plane. "What people do now is they compromise," says Block. "They don't get resolution in the other planes to make it a reasonable scan time. We found a way around that."

With the team's powerful technique, an MRI machine acquires data radially and generates a high-resolution, three-dimensional image that radiologists can turn, slice and view from many perspectives enabling them to study a lesion's physical characteristics more carefully. Machines equipped with the technique also acquire more data in less time.

In addition, the method also makes it possible for radiologists to view fat images and water images separately, which is particularly useful because fat composes a large portion of the breast. "Rarely is disease associated with fat," says Block. "Most of the time radiologists are concentrating on water images, but sometimes our fat images of the breast are also useful. The boundaries of a lesion often stand out very clearly when embedded in fat."

Block and his colleagues currently are gathering data on the efficacy of the technique. They have tested the method on 20 patients at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and have shared it with colleagues at the University of Toronto for additional assessment. They also are working with Michigan State University researchers to test the technique.

Collaborating with Scott Reeder, a UW-Madison assistant professor of biomedical engineering and radiology, Block and colleagues also are refining ways to image both breasts simultaneously a development that could slash scan time and free valuable MRI space for additional patients. "If you have a screening procedure that you want people to participate in regularly, you want to make it convenient for them," says Block.


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Contact: Walter Block
wfblock@wisc.edu
608-265-9686
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Source:Eurekalert

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