A mammogram is still the gold standard for detecting breast cancer in women. But for some patients with increased risk factors for breast cancer, additional technology is needed to pinpoint specific problems. For a patient diagnosed with breast cancer or other breast diseases, the time between diagnostic test appointments and treatment intervention can seem endless.

The Sentinelle Vanguard Breast MRI table recently implemented in St. Dominic’s Hospital’s Radiology department not only allows for superior image quality for breast imaging and biopsies, but creates the opportunity for immediate medical intervention if needed. This new technology is the first offered in the Jackson area, representing St. Dominic’s commitment to obtaining the latest imaging equipment, said Peter Curcio, RT (R) (MR) (CT) St. Dominic’s MRI Manager.

“One of the benefits of the Sentinelle is it is designed so biopsies can be performed closer to the chest wall,” said Curcio. “This is a marked improvement over other systems and can have a major impact on a patient’s outcome, particularly those who have just been diagnosed with breast cancer.”

Curcio said the Sentinelle is not a screening tool, but rather a diagnostic agent utilized by physicians and surgeons. The equipment identifies leftover cancer cells from previous bouts with the disease as well as tissue from previous procedures. The technology can also detect complications from breast implant ruptures and leakages.

“The Sentinelle allows for an MRI and other percutaneous biopsies of the breast to be done while the patient rests comfortably,” said Curcio. “In addition, the table is configured with an open design allowing easy accessibility to all quadrants of the breast.”

Curcio added size and density of individual breasts can often cause difficulty during MRI’s and biopsies. The Sentinelle’s unique design allows the equipment’s coils to be custom fitted for every patient, with the ability to move medially and laterally, among other movements.

The coils that cup the breasts are adjustable on the table to fit each patient, whether she has large or small breasts. The adjustable coils enable enhanced imagery in areas that may not clearly be seen in most MRI’s, especially when breast lesions are very close to the chest wall.

A physician referral is required for treatment with the Sentinelle. For more information about this latest technology, patients are asked to contact their primary care physician or Peter Curcio with St. Dominic’s at 601-200-5192.