A new study suggests that magnetic resonance imaging prior to breast-conserving lumpectomy surgery may provide better guidance to surgeons when the exam is performed with the patient lying supine, or face up, as they are positioned during surgery. Traditionally, breast MRIs are performed with the patient lying prone, or face down.
The study found that the size of the tumor and its location in the breast could be substantially different depending on the patient’s position during the MRI exam. Researchers reported that deformity of the breast and tumor position occurs when patients are imaged in the prone position.
Lead author of the study Eva C. Gombos, M.D., said in a news release, "Our analysis highlights that supine MRI before surgery may provide surgeons with more detailed and accurate information and could lead to effective tumor removal."
Patients in the first phase of the clinical trial underwent standard diagnostic MR imaging in the usual prone position preceding surgery. Twelve patients underwent lumpectomy and post-surgical supine MRI during the operation. Half had preprocedure supine imaging. All patients underwent successful removal of their tumors. Researchers are looking to the next phase of the trial to further validate their results.