scintimammography, nuclear medicine breast imaging, breast cancer, breast imaging, dense breast tissue, breast abnormality" /> scintimammography, nuclear medicine breast imaging, breast cancer, breast imaging, dense breast tissue, breast abnormality" />
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Test Details
Test Code:NM0021
Test Name:Scintimammography (MIBI)
Test Details & Preparation
Nuclear medicine breast imaging (also called scintimammography) is a supplemental breast exam that may be used in some patients to investigate a breast abnormality. A nuclear medicine test is not a primary investigative tool for breast cancer but can be helpful in selected cases after diagnostic mammography has been performed. Nuclear medicine breast imaging involves injecting a radioactive tracer (dye) into the patient. Since the dye accumulates differently in cancerous and non-cancerous tissues, scintimammography can help physicians determine whether cancer is present.

Scintimammography is not a screening tool for breast cancer. However, after a physical breast exam, mammography, and ultrasound are performed, nuclear medicine breast imaging may be appropriate for certain patients. Supplemental breast imaging helps determine whether a patient has a suspicious breast abnormality that would require a biopsy to confirm the presence of breast cancer.

Nuclear medicine breast imaging may be appropriate for patients with dense breast tissue large, palpable abnormalities that cannot be imaged well with mammography or ultrasound breast implants when multiple tumours are suspected a lump at the surgical site after mastectomy since scar tissue may be difficult to distinguish from other tumours with other breast imaging exams to check the axillary (underarm) lymph nodes to determine whether they contain cancer cells (sentinel lymph node biopsy).

Like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast, nuclear medicine may also be helpful to determine if multiple breast tumours are present. A nuclear medicine breast imaging test may show that the cancer is in fact multi-focal tumours are present in several areas of the breast. Determining the extent of breast cancer with nuclear medicine can help indicate treatment: breast conserving surgery (lumpectomy) or breast removal (mastectomy). Mastectomy is indicated if there are multiple tumours.

No special preparation is needed for a nuclear medicine breast imaging. You should inform your physician and the technologist performing your exam of any medications you are taking, including vitamins and herbal supplements. You should also inform them if you have any allergies and about recent illnesses or other medical conditions. The test is usually performed on an outpatient basis and normally requires approximately 45 to 60 minutes.
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