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Problems with MRI positioning in breast cancer patients

Some New Mexico residents may know that a study performed in a Boston hospital shows that MRIs conducted before breast surgery may be inadequate due to patient positioning. A group of radiologists at the hospital conducted the study using a dozen female patients with breast cancer. Of this number, six of the women had MRIs before and after surgery.

The question was whether the images from patients placed face down for presurgery MRIs may yield inaccurate data that adversely affected the accuracy of the surgery site and misrepresent the size of the tumor being excised. Before breast cancer patients have a lumpectomy, in some cases,an MRI is performed to pinpoint the location, shape and size of the tumor scheduled for removal.

According to the study that was published on June 22, MRI images taken of the tumor and breast when a patient was in a face-down position showed a significant difference from standard images taken when the patient was lying face up. The face-down images showed a different image of the tumor in both shape and size due to deformation and displacement. One of the Boston radiologists noted that MRIs performed when the patient is in a face-up position may give better detail while the study's senior author suggested that both a face-down and face-up MRI should be done.

A failure to diagnose cancer in its early stages may result in delays that can change the recuperation time or prognosis for a patient. A cancer patient who has been harmed as a result of such a failure may want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney in order to see what recourse may be available.

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