Breast Imaging

Breast Imaging

Our Women's Imaging Department has been architecturally designed for women's comfort and privacy. We utilise the latest in breast imaging technology which integrates the use of 3D mammography, breast ultrasound, breast MRI and interventional procedures, including biopsies and FNAs, to provide a complete service in one location.

Gympie Radiology is excited to offer the latest in Breast Imaging technology with the new Digital Tomosynthesis System. This technology produces a three-dimensional view of the breast tissue, allowing our on-site radiologists to detect any abnormalities, earlier than ever before. 2D mammography is currently the most common screening method in Australia, however it has some limitations. 3D mammography has been shown to be significantly superior to traditional 2D mammography as it allows the radiologists to dissect the breast and examine the breast tissue one layer at a time. With recent advances in software, this can now be achieved at similar doses to conventional 2D mammography.

Advantages include:

  • Reduces structure overlap, making small cancers clearer in areas that may be obscured in a 2D mammogram by dense breast tissue
  • Patient anxiety is decreased as recall rates for extra images are significantly reduced, as well as reducing unnecessary breast biopsies or FNAs
  • Known breast cancers are better demonstrated for pre-operative measurements and planning
  • Private consultations are available with our breast imaging specialist to ensure your imaging needs are tailored to the highest quality of clinical care.

Preparing for your examination

Please be aware that all Breast Imaging examinations require an appointment. Please call us to arrange an appointment. 

What to bring:

  • A referral from your GP or specialist
  • Medicare card
  • Pension/concession card
  • Previous films from other clinics relating to breast imaging

Please wear a two piece outfit. No deodorant, hairspray, talcum powder or body cream with glitter should be worn on the day of your examination. Digital mammography is sensitive and artifacts on the skin surface may be produced by these products. Facilities are available on-site for you to apply these products following your examination.

Please bring your previous films. The appearance of the breast on a mammogram varies tremendously from woman to woman, and no two mammograms are alike. It is extremely helpful for the radiologist to have films (not just the report) available from previous examinations for comparison purposes. This will help the doctor recognise any small changes that may occur gradually over time or detect early stages of breast cancer.

Please tell us if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Reasons for Breast Imaging

3D MAMMOGRAPHY - TOMOSYNTHESIS

3D mammography allows the reporting Radiologists to examine the breast tissue one layer at a time. The advantages to this include:

  • Reduces structure overlap, making small cancers clearer to see in areas of the breast that might be obscured on a 2D mammogram by dense breast tissue
  • Patient anxiety is decreased as recall rates for extra images are significantly reduced, as well as reducing unnecessary breast biopsies

The benefit of mammography in helping to detect breast cancer early, outweighs the temporary discomfort of the exam. If you are concerned about any pain associated with mammography, we recommend that patients take paracetamol or ibuprofen 1-1 ½ hours prior to your mammogram.

BREAST ULTRASOUND

Breast ultrasound is an excellent imaging technique for determining whether a breast mass, identified on a physical exam or through mammography, is filled with fluid or is solid.

Breast ultrasound however, is far less effective at searching the breast tissue for unknown abnormalities and therefore is not a substitute for a mammographic examination. In many cases, additional breast and lymph node diagnostic information is obtained using high-resolution ultrasound, which can help further clarify the nature of breast or lymph node lesions.

Breast ultrasound is increasingly employed to provide additional, complementary, diagnostic information to mammography.

BREAST MRI

Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a safe and highly sensitive tool for imaging breasts. Breast MRI obtains high resolution images without compression or radiation. However, for the majority of patients, it does not replace routine mammograms. Magnetic resonance mammography is a valuable and highly sensitive tool for:

  • High risk screening for breast cancer
  • Women with a strong family history of breast cancer - two or more close relatives such as mother or sister
  • Women who have known mutations in the breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2
  • Women with a history of previously treated breast cancer
  • Women with very dense breast tissue
  • Evaluation of extent of disease
  • Women with biopsy proven carcinoma, DCIS or LCIS, to assess for extent of disease in both breasts
  • Implant assessment
  • Breast MRI can evaluate the integrity of breast implants without compression and with a high degree of anatomical detail

Breast MRI is increasingly employed to provide additional, complementary, diagnostic information to mammography. We encourage your doctor to speak with our radiologists to determine whether these examinations are indicated for your care.

Breast Core Biopsy / Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) 

When an abnormality is detected under diagnostic imaging, a needle biopsy may be necessary for a definitive diagnosis. Ultrasound guidance is used during the biopsy to ensure the sample is taken from the correct location.

What to expect

You will be asked to change into a gown prior to the examination.

During mammography, the technologist will position and image each breast separately. Each breast is carefully positioned on a special detector plate and then gently compressed with a paddle. This compression flattens the breast so that the maximum amount of tissue can be imaged and examined. Patients should feel firm pressure due to compression but no significant pain. If you feel pain, please inform the technologist.

Our radiologists are involved in every case at the time of the exam. If any additional imaging is required, we make every effort to obtain it at that time, as opposed to having patients return for further imaging or biopsy.

During Ultrasound a Sonographer uses a hand-held scanning probe (transducer) placed against your skin and moves it around the area they are scanning. They will apply a warm gel between the transducer and your skin. This clear gel conducts the sound beam and allows the ultrasound probe to pass smoothly over your skin. The gel is easily removed after your examination, and it will not stain your skin or clothing.

During MRI you will asked to fill out an MRI questionnaire on arrival and be asked to remove anything magnetic including:

  • Jewellery
  • Your watch
  • Credit cards
  • Dentures
  • Hearing aids and
  • Any metal objects which could be affected by the magnetic field

This is because the powerful magnets can cause these objects to become safety hazards, and also affect the quality of your scan. The MRI will also erase any cards with magnetic strips, such as your bank or credit cards.

In the imaging room, you will be positioned on a softly padded table which will move during the study to position you for the pictures. You will be lying face down and a device (coil) will be placed underneath you. This is not constricting, and it acts as a receiver for the radio waves produced by the MRI machine. We will make you comfortable with the aid of pillows, blankets and sponges. An injection of MRI dye called Gadolinium is injected intravenously to assess the breast tissue. You will be asked to lie still for approximately 15 - 30 minutes.

If a core biopsy or FNA is needed, the appointment will be made at the time of imaging. On the day of your appointment, you will be asked to change into a gown. Under sterile conditions, the Radiologist (medical imaging specialist) will use ultrasound guidance to position the needle. You will be given a local anesthetic and a small sample of breast tissue will be taken from the area of concern, and sent to a pathologist for testing. You should feel comfortable again immediately after your procedure and resume normal daily activities. If you feel discomfort after the procedure you can apply ice to reduce any potential bruising. 

When can you get your results?

The images obtained are digitally recorded. At Gympie Radiology our highly trained and qualified Radiologists interpret the images and provides a report for your doctor and/or referring health care provider within 24 hours.

You may collect films at a time that is convenient for you. You may need to make a follow up appointment to discuss the results with your referring practitioner.

We invite you to ask any additional questions you may have before or after your examination.