Molecular Breast Imaging

Henry Ford is the first in Michigan to offer a new and advanced breast imaging technology system called LumaGEM® Molecular Breast Imaging. Molecular Breast Imaging, or MBI, is a secondary screening tool for breast cancer.

MBI is designed to increase early detection of invasive breast cancer in women with dense breast tissue when used in addition to digital mammography or 3D mammography.

How MBI works

Up to 50 percent of U.S. women have dense breast tissue, putting them at an increased risk for developing breast cancer. And because women with dense breasts have less fatty tissue and more glandular tissue, it can make abnormalities harder to see on a standard mammogram.

LumaGEM MBI works by revealing early-stage breast cancer in women with dense breasts by using a special camera and radioactive tracer injected through a vein in the arm to create a functional image of the breast.

The tracer “lights up” metabolic activity in the breast associated with tumor growth and can identify cancer concealed by dense breast tissue on a mammogram.

During your MBI exam, you will sit comfortably at the LumaGEM Molecular Breast Imaging system, and your breasts will be mildly compressed for stabilization between two special cameras, which take a series of images. Generally, these images will be the same views that were taken during your mammogram, making the comparison between the MBI and mammography images easier for the physician to interpret.

The entire procedure takes about 40-45 minutes, and the images are available immediately for your physician to review.

Who should get MBI?

MBI is a secondary screening exam for breast cancer. That means MBI is used in addition to mammography as part of comprehensive and personalized diagnostic procedure. It does not replace mammography.

When used a secondary screening tool, research has shown that MBI increases cancer detection rates up to four times compared to standard mammography alone.

Women with dense breasts may benefit from secondary screening with MBI. Your physician may order a MBI exam if you have an indeterminate finding, or if you have dense breasts, as well as one or more of the following factors:

  • Moderate or high risk for breast cancer
  • Unable to have a breast MRI due to extreme claustrophobia or to having a pacemaker, stent or other implant in your body
  • Plan to undergo chemotherapy and need to assess progress or for pre-surgical planning
  • Need to determine extent of disease prior to your surgery (pre-surgical planning tool).

Make an appointment for MBI

Molecular Breast Imaging is offered at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital (248) 325-3400.

Henry Ford is working to expand health insurance coverage for MBI. Currently, when an appointment for MBI is made, Henry Ford will contact the patient’s health insurance provider to determine coverage in advance of their appointment. For those without insurance coverage for MBI, a special self-pay pricing of $515 is available.

Read information on how to prepare for your MBI exam.

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