Breast MRI in community practice: equipment and imaging techniques at facilities in the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium (BCSC).
MRI is increasingly used for the detection of breast carcinoma. Little is known about breast MRI techniques among community practice facilities. The aim of this study was to evaluate equipment and acquisition techniques used by community facilities across the United States, including compliance with minimum standards by the ACRIN® 6667 Trial and the European Society of Breast Imaging.
Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium facilities performing breast MRI were identified and queried by survey regarding breast MRI equipment and technical parameters. Variables included scanner field strength, coil type, acquisition coverage, slice thickness, and the timing of the initial postcontrast sequence. Results were tallied and percentages of facilities meeting ACRIN® and European Society of Breast Imaging standards were calculated.
From 23 facilities performing breast MRI, results were obtained from 14 (61%) facilities with 16 MRI scanners reporting 18 imaging parameters. Compliance with equipment recommendations of ≥1.5-T field strength was 94% and of a dedicated breast coil was 100%. Eighty-three percent of acquisitions used bilateral postcontrast techniques, and 78% used slice thickness≤3 mm. The timing of initial postcontrast sequences ranged from 58 seconds to 8 minutes 30 seconds, with 63% meeting recommendations for completion within 4 minutes.
Nearly all surveyed facilities met ACRIN and European Society of Breast Imaging standards for breast MRI equipment. The majority met standards for acquisition parameters, although techniques varied, in particular for the timing of initial postcontrast imaging. Further guidelines by the ACR Breast MRI Accreditation Program will be of importance in facilitating standardized and high-quality breast MRI.