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Lecture 7

MEDRADSC 2Z03 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Breast Implant, Breast Cancer, Fat Necrosis

Medical Radiation Sciences
Course Code
Dawn Danko

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The final clinical application we introduce is imaging of the breast, which is
emerging as an important modality for tumour identification and biopsy planning.
MRI is also very useful in the assessment of breast implant integrity.
The female breast consists mainly of mammary glands and fatty tissue.
Breast cancer is basically a malignant neoplasm of the mammary gland such as
ductal, lobular and colloid carcinomas.
Other breast lesions that are detected by MRI include cysts, fibroadenoma and
fatty lesions.
Sensitivity of the technique is high (that is, it can reliably indicate an area of abnormal
However, specificity of the technique (that is, identifying exactly whether the
unusual area is benign or cancerous) is still improving.
For this reason, MRI of the breast is usually performed in conjunction with other
imaging such as mammogram and/or ultrasound
The T2 weighted image below (figure 1) was obtained with fat suppression,
whereby bright signal originates mainly from water and indicates the presence of
cysts, lymph nodes and fat necrosis.
Few malignant tumours appear bright in these images, colloid carcinoma being an
important exception. In the image below, the bright areas indicate multiple cysts.
Figure 1: Breast - multiple cysts
In T1 weighted images, pre-contrast and not fat suppressed, fatty deposits appear bright,
and can be used to identify benign fat containing lesions. The image below (figure 2)
shows a bright region within a hamartoma, usually benign unless rapidly growing.
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