Region's First & Only Breast MRI

Looking for a place where today’s women can get service they want, the technology they need, the compassion they crave, and most importantly, have all of this in a convenient location close to home?  The Women’s Diagnostic Center at Maria Parham is just the place today’s women are looking for when they need their annual mammogram or other diagnostic procedures.  Maria Parham is very pleased to add Breast MRI to its already strong women’s offerings.

Utilizing Digital Mammography and Ultrasound, the Women’s Diagnostic Center can meet the needs of most women seeking their annual mammogram.  The exciting news is now Maria Parham is the very first hospital in the region to offer Breast MRI.  Breast MRI provides the latest in advanced technology, helping give your doctor the information that may lead to more accurate answers.  Of course, technology is only as good as the people who use it, and Maria Parham is very fortunate to partner with Wake Radiology.  Wake Radiology provides physicians who specialize in different Imaging modalities including Breast MRI.

Maria Parham utilizes the GE Healthcare MR system, characterized by excellent image quality, comfort due to ergonomic design and structured with efficiency in mind to accommodate your busy schedule.  This MRI machine also features a wide-bore opening to reduce that “closed-in” feeling.

What is a breast MRI?

Breast MRI is the most sophisticated imaging available for the breast, and increasingly important in the fight against breast cancer.  Promising new evidence shows that for women with increased risk, Breast MRI can potentially decrease mortality by detecting cancers that would otherwise be completely invisible or undetectable by mammograms, ultrasounds, or clinical examination.

Who should consider having a Breast MRI?

The American Cancer Society recommends an annual Breast MRI, in addition to a mammogram, starting at age 30 for women who have any of the following conditions:

  • A BRCA 1 or 2 gene mutation.  
  • A first-degree parent, sibling, or child with a BRCA 1 or 2 gene mutations (even if the patient is untested).   
  • A greater than 20% calculated lifetime risk of developing breast cancer (the US average is 12-13% using the modified Gail Model for calculation).   
  • The TP53 of PTEN gene mutation.   
  • Had radiation to the chest between the ages of 10 and 30.   
  • Themselves, or a first degree relative has a rare genetic syndrome such as Li-Fraumeni, Cowden, or Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba.

Why choose Breast MRI?

While mammography is the gold standard to which all breast imaging is compared, and for good reason, it does not have the power that is available with MRI.  While the majority of mammographic abnormalities requiring biopsy are benign, the majority of MRI-detected abnormalities requiring biopsy are malignant.

Why you should choose us?

Maria Parham Health offers the ONLY Breast MRI in the region!  While Breast MRI is available from other providers outside of the region, national experts have warned that experience and quality are crucial to success.  Our program attributes its success to strict adherence to the “rules” of Breast MRI.  The highest quality magnets and equipment are used, and only a few highly-trained subspecialists interpret the cases.  Wake Radiology’s Breast MRI subspecialists have performed more than 5,000 Breast MRIs since 2005.  One of the most important rules, commonly ignored by others, is the effect of estrogen on the accuracy of the examination.  The medical imaging literature has been clear that high estrogen levels negatively affect the accuracy of Breast MRI.  Thus, for breast MRIs that are performed to diagnose possible hidden cancer (rather than determine the extent of known cancer), we restrict imaging to days 5-14 of the patient’s menstrual cycle.  This dramatically improves image quality and accuracy.  Our physicians work daily with multidisciplinary teams to further improve diagnosis and treatment optimization.  The 3-D images created by this advanced technology provide critical information on the size, extent, and location of the suspected malignancy.  If the Breast MRI reveals cancer, the physician has detailed 3-D information to help determine the best course of treatment.

For more information about Breast MRI, please call 252-436-1730 for more information.

Credits: Dr. Glenn Coates, Co-director of Breast MRI Services for Wake Radiology

Helpful Links

(general definitions and explanations
of radiological procedures)
A resource for Breast Cancer Screening

For more information about Breast MRI, please call (252) 436-1730.