Technical Note: Development of a combined molecular breast imaging/ultrasound system for diagnostic evaluation of MBI-detected lesions

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Abstract

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to perform a pilot evaluation of an integrated molecular breast imaging/ultrasound (MBI/US) system designed to enable, in real-time, the registration of US to MBI and diagnostic evaluation of breast lesions detected on MBI.

Methods:

The MBI/US system was constructed by modifying an existing dual-head cadmium zinc telluride (CZT)-based MBI gamma camera. The upper MBI detector head was replaced with a mesh panel, which allowed an ultrasound probe to access the breast. An optical tracking system was used to monitor the location of the ultrasound transducer, referenced to the MBI detector. The lesion depth at which ultrasound was targeted was estimated from analysis of previously acquired dual-head MBI datasets. A software tool was developed to project the US field of view onto the current MBI image. Correlation of lesion location between both modalities with real-time MBI/US scanning was confirmed in a breast phantom model and assessed in 12 patients with a breast lesion detected on MBI.

Results:

Combined MBI/US scanning allowed for registration of lesions detected on US and MBI as validated in phantom experiments. In patient studies, successful registration was achieved in 8 of 12 (67%) patients, with complete registration achieved in seven and partial registration achieved in one patient. In 4 of 12 (37%) patients, lesion registration was not achieved, partially attributed to uncertainty in lesion depth estimates from MBI.

Conclusion:

The MBI/US system enabled successful registration of US to MBI in over half of patients studied in this pilot evaluation. Future studies are needed to determine if real-time, registered US imaging of MBI-detected lesions may obviate the need to proceed to more expensive procedures such as contrast-enhanced breast MRI for diagnostic workup or biopsy of MBI findings.

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