Page 2: Fraunhofer scientists combine medical imaging techniques for gentler biopsies

Fraunhofer Institute scientists have a developed a novel technique which combines magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with ultrasound imaging for a more cost-effective and gentler method of breast biopsies for breast cancer patients.

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Challenges exist for the new process however, as during an MRI the patient is lying prone, while during the biopsy, the patient lies supine. This change of position alters the shape of the patient’s breast and shifts the position of the tumor, so to track these changes, researchers applied ultrasound probes which resemble ECG electrodes, to provide a succession of ultrasound images. This provides two comparable sets of data from the two separate imaging techniques.

In the examination room, these probes remain attached and record volume data and track the changes to the shape of the breast. Proprietary algorithms analyze the changes and update the MRI scan accordingly, and the MR image will change correspondingly with the ultrasound scan. When the biopsy needle is inserted into the tissue, the physician can see the adjusted MRI scan along with the ultrasound image, providing greater accuracy of needle guidance.

Fraunhofer is working to develop an ultrasound device that can be used within an MRI scanner, as well new software which will track movements in real time by means of ultrasound tracking, and ultrasound probes that can provide 3D images. The concept will on display at MEDICA 2013 in Düsseldorf (Hall 10, Booth F05) from November 20-23.

View the press release.

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