Breast Specific Gamma Imaging
Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center is the first, and currently the only, hospital in the metro Phoenix area to offer a new technology that aids in the early detection of breast cancer – Breast Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI).
Yearly mammograms save lives by detecting breast cancer at its earliest and most treatable stage. Sometimes however, the mammogram does not provide clear information for a diagnosis. For women with questionable mammograms, this can be an agonizing time until either MRI or biopsy determines whether the mass is cancerous or benign. Now, there is a new option -- BGSI.
BSGI is a molecular breast imaging technique that helps physicians detect early stage cancers even in dense breast tissue, scarred breast tissue or when implants are present. Because of its high rate of accuracy, BSGI can help patients avoid unnecessary biopsies. It is also an alternative to other imaging techniques such as MRI.
While mammography is a highly sensitive screening tool, meaning it is effective in detecting breast abnormalities, it is not highly specific in determining whether the abnormality is malignant or benign. This is where BSGI comes in. Though mammography is the first-line screening tool, when doctors are faced with an image that is inconclusive, they now have another option to deliver fast, accurate results.
With BSGI, the patient receives a pharmaceutical tracing agent that is absorbed by the cells in the body. Cancerous cells have a higher metabolic rate and absorb a greater amount of the tracing agent than healthy cells making the malignancies easier to detect. During the screening, the breasts are positioned similar to a mammogram, but there is no compression and patients are seated throughout the entire procedure, which takes about 45 minutes.