Joburg hospital gets international accreditation in breast MRI

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The radiology department at Netcare Park Lane Hospital in Johannesburg has been awarded international accreditation in breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) by the American College of Radiology (ACR). It is the first centre of its kind in South Africa to receive this accreditation.

Park Lane Radiology received the ACR gold seal of accreditation for three years following a recent review by ACR. Breast cancer patients are therefore assured of the highest levels of image quality and patient safety. We congratulate Park Lane Radiology and the medical professionals practising there, as the accreditation affirms their considerable expertise in this field,” says Jacques du Plessis, MD of Netcare’s hospital division.

“MRI of the breast offers valuable information to oncologists and other breast care specialists about a number of breast conditions that may not be obtained using other imaging technologies such as mammography or ultrasound,” he adds. “The MRI is therefore an important additional tool in the diagnosis and treatment of many patients, particularly those who are at high risk of breast cancer due to abnormal genetics and family history.”

The women’s imaging department which forms part of Park Lane Radiology at Netcare Park Lane Hospital was developed in recent years by diagnostic radiologists Dr Harry Said, Dr Peter Schoub, Dr Leora Sweidan and Dr Sandy Wise. The comprehensive breast imaging service offered includes MRI, MRI-guided biopsies, tomosynthesis mammography and ultrasound. They have developed a comprehensive, world-class service that is entirely dedicated to, and specialises in, women’s imaging.

Schoub says that the women’s imaging department works as part of an integrated, holistic team with other specialists at Netcare Park Lane Hospital, as well as with the Breast Care Centre of Excellence situated at Netcare Milpark Hospital. He adds that MRI is an extremely useful diagnostic tool in certain patients.

“Breast MRI is the most accurate imaging test available to detect breast cancer and is used to screen high risk patients, evaluate the extent of cancer, identify recurrent cancer and solve dilemmas presented by conventional imaging such as mammograms and ultrasounds,” explains Schoub.
“It may also be used with other imaging approaches such as mammography and breast ultrasound to monitor a patient’s breast health, as it often detects smaller abnormalities in the breast that is not possible with other technologies such as mammography, and greatly assists in guiding breast cancer treatment plans,” he notes.

According to Schoub, MRI can be extremely useful in younger female patients who tend to have denser breast tissue. As it does not use radiation, it can be used to conduct more regular breast screenings safely in younger women who are at high risk for developing breast cancer.

“Most breast MRIs are done following discussions between the radiologist and breast surgeon or oncologist. It plays a particularly important role in assessing the cancer extent and presence of multiple cancers. The knowledge gained from this scan helps the surgeons and oncologists to plan the most appropriate treatment for breast cancer patients.”

“Any facility performing breast MRIs must be capable of doing MRI guided biopsies – for example, if a small cancer is only visible on MRI, then it can only be sampled or biopsied by using MRI to localise the tumour. At Park Lane Radiology we have accumulated considerable experience both in interpreting breast MRI scans and performing MRI guided biopsies,” explains Schoub.
ACR accreditation is only awarded to facilities meeting its strict practice parameters and technical standards, and after a peer-review evaluation by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field.

“Image quality, personnel qualifications, adequacy of facility technology and equipment, quality control procedures and quality assurance programmes are assessed,” says Schoub. “The findings are reported to the ACR Committee on Accreditation, which subsequently provides the practice with a comprehensive report that can be used for continuous practice improvement.
“We are exceptionally proud to have met the ACR’s stringent requirements and to be the first centre of this kind to be accredited in MRI by the ACR in South Africa,” Schoub said.

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