The Picture of Good Health
A New Imaging Frontier at Beverly Hospital (sponsored)
Beverly Hospital is changing the imaging experience for patients. State-of-the-art medical technology is improving the patient experience for residents all along the North Shore.
Beverly Hospital, Addison Gilbert Hospital and Lahey Outpatient Center, Danvers are now offering 3-D mammography, also known as tomosynthesis, the latest in breast cancer screening technology. This new technology is now the standard of care for patients visiting any of those facilities for their routine mammogram.
Lahey Outpatient Center, Danvers has also added the first-in-the-country In-Bore Ambient Experience MRI Suite. Developed by Phillips, the system is designed to significantly reduce the anxiety many patients experience during traditional MRI exams.
3-D mammography and breast MRI exams take breast cancer screening and follow-up care to a new level. 3-D imaging provides doctors multiple thin images of breast tissue. These images improve visualization of hard-to-see cancers. This is of special benefit for the nearly 50 percent of women with dense breast tissue.
“We are very excited to offer this new technology to our patients,” said Jean O’Brien, MD, Associate Medical Director of the Breast Health Center at Lahey Outpatient Center, Danvers. “3-D tomosynthesis is an essential tool for early detection of breast cancer, especially in women with dense tissue. This technology allows the radiologist to page through breast tissue in a way not possible with conventional 2-D mammography. This ability to examine the tissue layer by layer permits separation of overlapping breast tissue, which is a common reason for the false positive results seen with 2-D mammography alone.”
In addition to early detection, fewer false positive exams reduce the need for follow-up appointments and further testing. 3-D mammography takes place at the same time as regularly scheduled 2-D mammograms and is covered by insurance for all women covered for regular 2-D mammograms.
Breast MRI is an effective tool in the screening and treatment planning for breast cancer, as well as the post-treatment care for breast cancer patients. It can help determine the extent of cancer after a new diagnosis, assist in evaluating hard-to-assess abnormalities and help in the evaluation of lumpectomy sites in the years after surgery.
Breast MRI is also the best test to use if there is a concern for possible silicone implant rupture.
While breast MRI has proven to be a highly effective, non-invasive procedure, it can cause high levels of anxiety in some patients, especially those who experience claustrophobia. It is with these patients in mind that Phillips developed the In-Bore Ambient Experience MRI Suite.
According to one cancer survivor, the In-Bore Ambient Experience changed the way she feels about MRIs.
“It was a completely different atmosphere,” said Nancy Swindell-Lucas, of Beverly. “The whole environment surrounding the MRI was so quiet and soothing. Everything went smoothly and quickly but I didn’t feel rushed in any way.”
The In-Bore Ambient Experience MRI Suite provides patients with an interactive experience, allowing them to choose from various video themes that integrate soothing music, lights, and imagery both in the room and inside the machine. Inside the machine there is a mirror which allows patients to watch a screen mounted behind the MRI, which also has a wider opening, providing substantially more space than a traditional MRI.
Swindell-Lucas, 73, was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago, after a small lump was discovered during a traditional mammography screening. She had a lumpectomy and radiation treatment and is pleased to report she has been cancer free ever since.
She has had three breast MRIs as part of her follow-up care. The first two were traditional MRI procedures, while the most recent, which took place in June, was with the In-Bore Ambient Experience. She said the difference is remarkable.
“I’m very pleased with all of the advances they’ve made,” said Swindell-Lucas. “One of the biggest things is that the procedure was much shorter, from 30 minutes down to about 20 minutes, which is marvelous!”
Swindell-Lucas also had high praise for her MRI technician, who helped to put her at ease during the breast MRI.
“I wasn’t rushed in any way, shape or form and my privacy was respected. Maureen was wonderful. She does such a great job as a confidence booster,” she said.
Now that she has experienced the Ambient Experience MRI, Swindell-Lucas said she is hoping to experience the new 3-D mammography technology at her next regularly scheduled screening appointment.
To schedule your screening appointment, call (866) 479-3208 or visit BeverlyHospital.org/BreastHealth.
( Top photo: Ambient MRI at Lahey Outpatient Center, Danvers. )