Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI) is a relatively new technique to detect or evaluate breast cancers. Breast tissue is a mixture of fatty and dense tissue. Younger women typically have more dense tissue and older women more fatty tissue. MBI is particularly useful in evaluating women with dense breast tissue when the results of other technologies are not conclusive.
EPIC Imaging has the two leading MBI technologies available: PEM, short for Positron Emission Mammography and BSGI, short for Breast Specific Gamma Imaging. Both PEM and BSGI are nuclear medicine procedures that have been optimized for breast imaging. They measure the metabolic changes that occur in cells when cancer is present. Both produce extremely high resolution and very detailed images of breast abnormalities.
For breast cancer patients, MBI provides a valuable tool for difficult diagnostic cases and pre-surgical planning for confirmed breast cancers. It is one of our best measures to date to evaluate if a patient is a candidate for breast conserving surgery (lumpectomy) versus mastectomy. In many cases, PEM also provides the earliest possible view of the effectiveness of treatment.
How MBI Works
Like other nuclear medicine studies, MBI works by detecting the energy given off by radioisotopes as they accumulate in the area being imaged. A radioisotope is a material used in very small, safe doses. They have specific destinations and congregate to cells and molecules, giving off a small amount of radiation (energy) while doing so. This small amount of energy can be detected by MBI technology and evaluated for the overall amount of collection and its intensity. The procedure provides valuable information that cannot be seen with other technologies. The small amount of radioactivity from the exam is completely gone from the body in 12-24 hours.