Providing a cohesive and effective approach to the diagnosis of breast cancer – Wake Radiology offers a full range of comprehensive breast exams in Raleigh, Cary, Chapel Hill and the surrounding Triangle area.
Wake Radiology provides a full range of comprehensive breast exams in Raleigh, Cary, Chapel Hill and the surrounding Triangle area. Our breast imaging radiologists and technologists understand the importance that dedication, compassion and expertise play in building a cohesive and effective approach to the diagnosis of breast cancer. We are devoted to maintaining excellence across a comprehensive set of breast imaging methods, following best practices and going above and beyond what any other local provider does. Wake Radiology is focused on providing the most specific answers possible to women and their referring providers.
The unique breadth and depth of Wake Radiology’s breast imaging expertise allows us to offer a full spectrum of breast imaging services, from 3D screening and diagnostic mammography, breast ultrasound and Breast MRI to three types of image-guided breast biopsy. All breast images are taken by certified mammography technologists and interpreted by board-certified radiologists. In fact, Wake Radiology has established a team of physicians who have expertise in mammography.
Breast Imaging Procedures
3D Mammography is the biggest breakthrough in breast imaging in 25 years. 3D technology allows our breast imaging radiologist to view breast tissue more clearly, increasing our chance of catching cancers even smaller than before.
Due to our efficient workflow processes, a screening 3D mammogram takes less than 30 minutes from check-in to exam completion. And, to make this important screening more convenient many of our offices are open on evenings and Saturdays, same-day appointments are available and walk-ins are welcome at many locations. While patients must have seen a primary care doctor in the past 18 months, a signed physician referral is not required for this annual exam.
3D mammography is performed in conjunction with a traditional 2D digital mammogram to create a more complete picture of breast tissue. During the 3D part of the exam, the X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, taking multiple images. A computer then uses these images to produce a layered 3D image of the breast tissue. This provides greater detail and allows the radiologist to see “inside” the breast layer by layer to find cancers earlier than ever.
Greater accuracy for earlier and easier detection
With conventional mammography, the radiologist views the breast tissue in a flat image. Sometimes breast tissue appears overlapped, making it difficult to see all the individual structures and making normal breast tissue look abnormal. 3D mammography virtually eliminates these challenges and allows the radiologist to better see the different structures as well as the location, size, and shape of any abnormal tissue, such as smaller, more invasive cancers. 3D mammography has been shown to improve breast cancer detection by 27%-50%.
In the past, if the radiologist saw an area that was questionable, the patient would be asked to return for additional imaging. Now, when the breast tissue can be seen in smaller, thinner sections, the “second look” is frequently unnecessary. 3D mammography has been shown to lower recall rates by 17%-40%.
Wake Radiology breast imaging radiologists believe that all patients will benefit from this revolutionary technology regardless of breast density, family history or personal history of breast cancer. Click here to learn more about 3D mammography.
Diagnostic mammography studies at Wake Radiology are always directed by a radiologist who is onsite. The technologist is, therefore, able to review all images with the radiologist to ensure that the appropriate number and type of additional views are taken during the appointment. This approach improves the quality of the interpretation – and subsequent outcomes – as well as decreases the number of duplicate exams. Our approach also allows our radiologists to consult personally with patients and review their results before they leave the office.
Comparison Sets for Informed Interpretations
Wake Radiology strives to access and leverage the greatest amount of related clinical information we can when we perform diagnostic mammograms. Screening and diagnostic mammograms are compared to multiple previous years to ensure the fewest possible false positives and false negatives, which decrease the rate of unnecessary recalls and improve detection. While some radiology providers stop at two years of comparison, Wake Radiology goes as far back as possible for an average of 5-7 years, which is very important in evaluating a patient’s current exam for a change that could signal subtle cancer. Dedicated staff members handle this labor-intensive prior exam retrieval process so that the prior imaging and information is readily available to our breast imaging radiologists when needed.
Wake Radiology understands how anxious patients are when they are waiting for results — especially those who are considered at high risk of developing breast cancer. When patients return for their diagnostic mammogram evaluation, they meet with our physicians who take the time to review results and images with them so they know the thought process behind their diagnosis. We also discuss possible next clinical management steps so they are more informed about how their referring physician may manage their breast diagnosis. Our hands-on approach diminishes patient anxiety associated with continued uncertainty.
Wake Radiology understands that a breast ultrasound can add important information to the results of other tests such as a mammogram or Breast MRI to correlate findings.
A breast ultrasound uses sound waves to make a picture of the breast including the area closest to the chest wall, which is hard to study with a mammogram. Breast ultrasound does not use X-rays or other potentially harmful types of radiation, does not replace the need for a mammogram, and is often used to check abnormal results from a mammogram.
A breast ultrasound may be done to find the cause of breast symptoms, such as pain, swelling, and redness or check a lump found during breast self-examination or physical examination. It is used to see whether a breast lump is fluid-filled (a cyst) or if it is a solid lump. A lump that has no fluid or that has fluid with floating particles may need more tests. At Wake Radiology, breast ultrasounds are performed by technologists certified in ultrasonography and interpreted by board-certified radiologists, many of who are dedicated to breast imaging.
If a biopsy is indicated, Wake Radiology will identify the best modality for guiding the biopsy based on the nature and location of the abnormality. Wake Radiology offers three types of image-guided breast biopsy procedures: stereotactic, ultrasound and MRI. We also discuss the initial findings and the specific recommended biopsy procedure with each patient. Patients may have the procedure performed at our facility or may opt for a surgical referral via the referring physician. In many cases, we are able to offer the patient a same-day procedure, especially for ultrasound-guided biopsy.
While a biopsy appointment typically takes 45-60 minutes, the procedure itself takes only 15-20 minutes. After the procedure, patients can resume normal activity (except for lifting) and exercise within a few days. Wake Radiology schedules the patient to return to our facility two days after the procedure to personally review positive pathology results and appropriate follow-up. We understand the anxiety associated with a breast cancer diagnosis so our approach is distinctly different from other radiology providers in our area who notify patients with a quick phone call.
Pathology follow-up for 100% of recommended biopsies
Wake Radiology follows up on 100% of our recommended biopsies versus the 10% required by the FDA’s Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA). We take multiple steps after each of our biopsy recommendations to ensure appropriate follow-up is performed, including a direct conversation with the patient if necessary. We not only do this for every imaging patient we biopsy ourselves, but we also take the extraordinary step of doing this for all our imaging patients biopsied by local surgeons. This unique comprehensive approach ensures the pathologic diagnosis correlates with the breast imaging findings for every patient seen at Wake Radiology. This time-consuming process helps prevent false negatives due to sampling errors and ensures that our team is continually learning and improving.
Fast Breast MRI (Abbreviated Breast MRI)
Abbreviated Breast MRI (also known as Fast Breast MRI) is a breast cancer screening tool available to women who have an average risk of breast cancer or who have dense breasts. Used in conjunction with 3D mammography, AB-MRI can increase cancer detection, but does not replace a yearly mammogram.
Benefits of Abbreviated (Fast) Breast MRI at Wake Radiology UNC REX
Abbreviated Breast MRI is a fast and easy alternative to traditional breast MRI.
- The scan takes 20-25 minutes. A traditional breast MRI scan takes about 45 minutes.
- It offers a higher cancer detection rate for average-risk patients and can identify extremely small cancers that cannot be found with 3D mammography or ultrasound alone.
- AB-MRI is relatively comfortable. Patients lie face down and move through a large bore MRI machine for this exam.
- No patient prep is needed.
- When a traditional Breast MRI is not covered by insurance, an Abbreviated Breast MRI offers a quality alternative for less cost.
- Our subspecialty and fellowship-trained breast radiologists and MRI specialists interpret all breast images, including AB-MRI.
For certain patients, Breast MRI is a useful adjunct to screening mammography in the detection of breast cancer and a powerful problem solver for diagnostic dilemmas not fully evaluated by mammography and ultrasound. Breast MRI also provides a clear view of the extent of disease for patients with newly diagnosed breast cancer.
Advanced method for finding and staging breast cancer
At Wake Radiology, we understand the important role Breast MRI plays in creating a cohesive and effective approach to the diagnosis of breast cancer. While mammography remains the gold standard for breast imaging, it does not have the power of MRI. Breast MRI is the most sophisticated imaging method for detecting and staging breast cancer. Unlike standard mammograms that use radiation to create a flat image, Breast MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create sophisticated 3D images that can reveal far more than mammography. With MRI, the differentiation of abnormal or diseased breast tissue from normal tissue is typically better than with X-ray, CT, ultrasound or other imaging modalities.
Breast MRI vs Mammogram
A mammogram typically is used as the first test for breast abnormalities. If a mammogram detects a problem, further specialized mammography and/or ultrasound may be used. If your doctor is still concerned, a Breast MRI is a diagnostic tool that may be considered. Breast MRI has been proven to potentially have value when other tests are inconclusive.
A Breast MRI should never take the place of your annual X-ray mammogram. Even if you have a normal Breast MRI, you should still continue to have an annual mammogram, one of the most effective tools in breast cancer detection.
Specific breast problems
Covered by Insurance
You cannot undergo MRI if you having any of the following:
- Pacemaker, unless it’s a Biotronik Pro MRI Eluna or Entovis Pacing Systems
- Residual pacemaker leads
- TENS unit or residual wires
- Defibrillator (AICD)
- Inner ear implant
- Internal pump device
- Brain aneurysm clip
- Metal in your eyes
The following may affect the scheduling of your breast MRI:
- Pre-menopause: Must schedule between days 5-14 of cycle.
- Birth Control Medication: Notify us at scheduling.
- Chemotherapy: Insurance covers MRI before & after completion of therapy only.
- Radiation Therapy: (XRT) Must wait for 6 months after the completion date.
- Lumpectomy: Can be imaged immediately after, before additional therapy.
- Breast Biopsy: Okay for MRI.
- Mammograms: Must have the most recent mammogram and report on site on appointment day.
Understanding Dense Breasts
Other Womens’ Imaging Procedures
Bone Density Scans (DXA)
25 million Americans have osteoporosis and nearly 80% are women. Said another way, one in four women has osteoporosis, making them 10 times more likely to suffer from this disease than men.
A bone density test (DXA) is a non-invasive, accurate and inexpensive way to assess a patient’s risk of falling and breaking bones. The exam less than 30 minutes and requires a signed physician referral.
Our practice is the only outpatient imaging group in the Triangle to be certified by the International Society of Clinical Densitometry (ISCD) for bone density exams. Learn more about DXA scans.
OB / Gynecologic Interventions
At Wake Radiology, our Interventional Radiologists consult with patients to address their gynecologic symptoms and medical history, and also examine relevant imaging exams to establish the most suitable treatment strategies. Before embarking on any minimally-invasive procedure, our physicians engage in comprehensive discussions with both the patient and their family to outline expected outcomes, potential risks, and alternative therapeutic options. Furthermore, we ensure that the referring doctor remains informed about the treatment plan through regular updates.
Ovarian Vein Embolization
Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (PCS) is a condition that predominantly affects women, causing chronic pelvic pain. It occurs when the veins within the pelvis, particularly the ovarian veins, become dilated and engorged with blood, leading to discomfort and pain. PCS can be a debilitating condition, impacting a person’s quality of life.
The interventional radiologists at Wake Radiology play a crucial role in diagnosing and treating PCS. Utilizing their expertise in image-guided procedures, interventional radiologists employ a technique known as ovarian vein embolization to accurately identify and target the root cause of pelvic pain, frequently arising from dilated ovarian veins.
Benefits of Ovarian Vein Embolization:
Minimally-invasive: Ovarian vein embolization is performed through a tiny incision, reducing the risk of complications and speeding up recovery.
High success rate: The procedure has a high success rate in relieving PCS symptoms, including pelvic pain and discomfort.
Minimal downtime: Patients typically resume their regular activities within a few days, enjoying a significant improvement in their quality of life.
How To Schedule: Call Wake Radiology’s Interventional scheduling department at 919-788-1916 to schedule a consultation regarding pelvic congestion syndrome treatment.
Uterine Artery Embolization for Uterine Fibroids
Uterine Artery Embolization / Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UAE/UFE) is performed to treat women with symptomatic uterine fibroids. Uterine fibroids are a common health issue among women, often causing discomfort, pain, and other troublesome symptoms. Fortunately, interventional radiologists offer an effective and minimally-invasive solution called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE).
Understanding Uterine Fibroids:
Uterine fibroids are benign growths that develop within the muscular walls of the uterus. These growths can vary in size and number, and while some women may not experience any symptoms, others may suffer from heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, and even fertility issues.
The Role of Interventional Radiologists:
The Interventional radiologists at Wake Radiology specialize in using advanced imaging techniques to guide minimally-invasive procedures. Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) is one such procedure that these experts perform to treat uterine fibroids effectively.
Benefits of Uterine Fibroid Embolization:
Non-surgical: UFE is a minimally-invasive procedure, eliminating the need for traditional surgery and its associated risks and recovery time.
Symptom relief: UFE effectively alleviates symptoms associated with uterine fibroids, including heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pain.
Preservation of the uterus: Unlike surgical options like hysterectomy, UFE allows women to retain their uterus and fertility potential.
How to Schedule: If you are experiencing the discomfort of uterine fibroids, consider consulting with a healthcare provider to explore the potential benefits of UFE as a treatment option. Call Wake Radiology’s Interventional scheduling department at 919-788-1916 to schedule a consultation regarding UFE.
Breast Cancer Awareness
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Learn what you should know about your risk to get breast cancer. Every adult is difference and all breast are different.
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