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MRI positioning could impact results for breast cancer patients

Ohio women may be interested in a study that suggests the position a breast cancer patient is placed in for her pre-surgical breast MRI could impact the accuracy of the scan. The small-scale study was published in the journal Radiology on June 22.

Breast MRIs are generally done to help doctors determine the exact size, shape and location of any tumors before surgery, which could increase the chances of successful removal. Many women are scanned in a face-down, or prone, position because breasts often droop to the sides if patients are on their back. However, radiologists at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital found that the prone position also led to inaccurate results. This is because both the breast and the tumor can be deformed by a patient lying on her chest. They also noted that patients are face-up for surgery, meaning the breasts and tumors are in entirely different positions than they were for pre-surgical scans.

The radiologists examined 12 breast cancer patients who underwent lumpectomy surgeries, and six of them had MRI scans before and after their procedures. Overall, the radiologists found that there was "change in the size and shape" of the breast and tumor when the prone scan was compared to the face-up surgical position. They suggested it might be better to scan patients in both face-up and face-down positions to get the most accurate images. They also indicated more study is required on the subject.

An inaccurate MRI scan could lead to the need for multiple surgeries or a worsened condition. Ohio patients who have been the victim of an inaccurate scan or other types of medical malpractice may benefit by discussing their legal rights with an attorney.

Source: Doctors Lounge, "Patient Positioning Might Hamper Accuracy of Breast MRI," June 22, 2016

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