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Breast cancer -- combining imaging techniques for quicker and gentler biopsies
Date:11/4/2013

How can you tell if a breast tumor is malignant? This isn't a question that ultrasound and X-rays, or even magnetic resonance scans, can answer alone. Doctors must often extract tissue samples from an affected area with a fine needle for detailed examination. This sort of biopsy is often undertaken with the help of ultrasound, with doctors observing a screen for needle guidance. Unfortunately, around 30 percent of all tumors are invisible to ultrasound. In some cases, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used to ensure correct needle insertion. This process involves two steps: the imaging itself, which takes place inside the MRI scanner, and the insertion of the biopsy needle, for which the patient must be removed from the machine to insert the needle accurately. This process is often repeated several times before the sample is finally taken. This ex-hausts patients and is also costly, because the procedure occupies the MRI scanner for a significant period.

In the joint MARIUS project (Magnetic Resonance Imaging Using Ultrasound systems and processes for multimodal MR imaging), experts from both the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT in St. Ingbert and the Fraunhofer Institute for Medical Image Computing MEVIS in Bremen are working together towards a quicker and gentler alternative.

Combining imaging techniques intelligently

The new technique would require just one scan of the patient's entire chest at the beginning of the procedure, meaning that the patient only has to enter the scanner once. The subsequent biopsy is guided by ultrasound; the system would transform the initial MRI scan and accurately render it on screen. Doctors would have both the live ultrasound scan and a corresponding MR image available to guide the biopsy needle and display exactly where the tumor is located.

The biggest challenge is that the MRI is performed with the patient lying prone, while during the biopsy she lies on her
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Contact: Dipl.-Ing. FH Steffen Tretbar
49-689-498-0226
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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