Abreast with the best: Northern Imaging Victoria

June 11, 2024

Breast cancer is a significant health concern, and early detection and treatment plays a crucial role in improving survival rates. Northern Imaging Victoria has expanded its breast imaging services with a team of seven Breast Radiologists and dedicated mammography technologists. They have also instituted a new Women’s imaging Fellowship in Radiology, further contributing to the expertise and knowledge available within the team.

In April, Northern Imaging also introduced three new specialised services – Contrast Enhanced Mammography, Stereotactic Breast Biopsies and MRI Breast Biopsies. This expansion has resulted in the availability of a fully comprehensive breast imaging service at Northern Health.

Contrast-Enhanced Mammography (CEM): Mammograms can be challenging to interpret, especially when detecting cancers at their early stages. CEM is a new, cutting-edge technique that improves cancer identification. By using a contrast agent, CEM enhances the visibility of abnormalities that may not be clearly visible on a standard mammogram. This technology increases the rate of breast cancer detection and provides better information for evaluation and treatment planning. Importantly, CEM offers the benefit of cost-effectiveness and a shorter procedure time compared to MRI scans.

3D Tomosynthesis guided Stereotactic Breast Biopsy
Biopsies are essential for confirming whether a breast abnormality is benign (non-cancerous) or cancerous. Stereotactic breast biopsy offers a less invasive alternative to surgical biopsy and is used when a small growth or an area of calcifications is detected on a mammogram, requiring further investigation. Northern Imaging Victoria has capability to perform 3D tomosynthesis guided stereotactic biopsies, further enhancing the accuracy of the procedure.

MRI-Guided Breast Biopsy
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – guided breast biopsy is an advanced procedure that precisely targets suspicious areas identified on breast MRI for diagnosis. It is minimally invasive and completed on an outpatient basis, reducing discomfort and recovery time for patients. MRI-guided breast biopsy has transformed breast imaging practices, allowing for earlier detection and more effective management of MRI detected breast abnormalities. Northern Imaging Victoria is one of a very small number of providers of this highly specialised service in Victoria.

Dr Ming Joe Lim, Deputy Director of Imaging Services and Consultant Radiologist, highlights further enhancements to the service, made in collaboration with the surgical team:

Magseed and Magtrace Procedures: Further advancements in collaboration with the Breast Surgical team has seen recent introduction of Magseed and Magtrace procedures. These advances increase patient convenience and comfort as they can be performed on an outpatient basis ahead of any planned surgery.

By investing in state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment options, Northern Imaging Victoria continues to lead in breast health, supporting the expertise of our multidisciplinary breast care team and the needs of our population.

Director of Imaging Services, Associate Professor Terry Kok, says, “We now offer a fully comprehensive breast imaging service that few health services can match. I am proud of our team for pioneering these advances in the north.”

Associate Professor Wanda Stelmach, Chief Medical Officer, says the partnership between Northern Imaging Victoria and Northern Health Breast Unit is to be congratulated. “It is amazing to be able to provide absolutely first-class care to the women in the north of Melbourne and along the northern rural corridor,” she says.

From left to right: Sarah Dunn, Lead Breast Imaging Technologist, Dr. Sook Pei Tan, Breast Radiologist, Dr. Sanaz Molaei, Breast Radiologist, Dr Xin Lyn Goh, Lead Breast Radiologist, Dr. Ming Joe Lim, Deputy Director, Imaging Services, A/ Prof Terry Kok, Director, Imaging Services.

Main image shows: A Prof Terry Kok, Director Imaging Services, Dr. Ming Joe Lim, Deputy Director Imaging Services, A Prof. Wanda Stelmach, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Judy Kuo, Breast Radiologist and Mr. Michael Issac, Head of Breast Surgical Unit.