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LMHS now offering Sentinelle Vanguard Breast MRI

By Staff | Oct 4, 2010

Lee Memorial Health System received its first Sentinelle Vanguard Breast MRI in July after it was introduced about a year ago.
The MRI provides the ability to detect breast cancer early, due to its ability to pick up tumor-like vessels as small as 3 millimeters. It is also an innovative tool to detect tumors that may otherwise go unnoticed during a mammogram, or for women who are at high risk for breast cancer.
Assistant Director of Ambula-tory Operations Fern Dennis said the Sanctuary Outpatient building has the only Sentinelle Vanguard Breast MRI table in the Lee Memorial Health System.
Dennis said the MRI has a magnet that aligns all the hydrogen atoms in the body no matter what part of the body is being imaged. She said the MRI works like an antenna because when the coils are put close to a specific body part, there is a better image of that body part.
Patients lie face down on the MRI table with their breast tissue going through two openings, which allows a coil to surround the breast tissue more efficiently. The new table provides health professionals with the ability to adjust the coils around each woman’s breast for a customized fit, therefore providing a much clearer image of the tissue.
“The detail becomes superior compared to the old coils that were not adjustable,” Dennis said.
She said patients will still have a mammogram done first, which will then be followed by an ultrasound if needed. She said if further testing needs to be done then the patient will have an MRI test.
“It’s a different mechanism to get more detailed information,” she said. “The mammogram will not give you as much information.”
Dennis said the MRI is ideal for women who are in their 40s because they have more fiber tissue. She said the MRI radio waves that are transmitted back and forth go through the tissue better.
The MRI typically takes 30 minutes to complete.
Dennis said some women have shared concerns about being claustrophobic when having an MRI done. She said most women seem to do pretty well with the Sentinelle Vanguard Breast MRI because they are facing down on the table while looking at the floor.
Dennis said the machine offers a mirror, which reflects the staff that is sitting in the control room, giving patients a feel of not being alone while having the MRI taken.
“You don’t feel like you are trapped,” she said about her personnel experience of utilizing the mirror while having an MRI done.