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Sentinelle Vanguard Breast MRI CoilThe power of precise imaging technology has been harnessed to better examine women at risk for breast cancer. The Queen's Medical Center has installed an advanced breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system that provides physicians with higher quality images, allowing them to more confidently diagnose and accurately intervene in breast cancer patients. The new system, the Sentinelle Vanguard® breast MRI coil, is used with Queen's existing MRI technology.

Because of its high resolution images of soft tissue, MRI has become the principal tool used to diagnose many diseases. However, because of the nature of breast anatomy, it can be difficult to obtain adequate images with normal MRI positioning for certain women who are at greater risk for breast cancer and for those who have a personal history of the disease. The new technology provides consistent, high quality breast images, and also allows for enhanced underarm coverage, which results in detecting lesions that may not be seen by conventional MRI tabletop coils. The patient lies face down on the MRI platform on memory foam supports, which allow the coils to surround the breasts. Biopsies of suspicious areas can also be taken by a radiologist during imaging.

Screenings are recommended for women with one of the following: women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation; women with a first-degree relative (parent, sibling or child) with this gene mutation; women exposed to chest-area radiation between the ages of 10 and 30; or women with a lifetime risk of breast cancer scored at 20% to 25% or greater, based on one of the several accepted risk assessment tools. Some insurance companies cover breast MRIs with pre-authorization if the patient has one of the clinical indications mentioned above. Women should ask their doctors for specific details.

"The breast coil is a powerful new tool for both our physicians and our community," said John Pearce, MD, Breast MRI Radiologist at the Queen's Women's Health Center. "This next generation system optimizes imaging and access, and ultimately, patient comfort and care."

Photo Captions:
MRI Tech Jessica Osaki stands in front of Queen's 1.5T MRI. Behind her is MRI Technician May Navarro (left) and Sr. MRI Tech Becky French, who has her hand on the Sentinelle Vanguard breast MRI coil.

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