This article originally appeared in Be Well, a health
information newsletter published for members of the Greater Marlborough
Women who live in the MetroWest area and are at high risk for developing
breast cancer now have another reason for hope thanks to Marlborough Hospital.
With the addition of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided breast biopsy, the
hospital is now among the first facilities in Central Massachusetts to provide
this advanced diagnostic tool to locate and diagnose abnormalities in the
earliest stages of development.
Until recently, a woman with a suspicious area in her breast would often
undergo a surgical biopsy to analyze the abnormality. Now, MRI-guided breast
biopsy uses state-of-the-art imaging to accurately pinpoint the suspicious area
so a physician can use a minimally invasive needle biopsy to obtain a tissue
sample for analysis.
"MRI-guided breast biopsy has many benefits," explained Marlborough Hospital
radiologist Ronald Garrell, MD. "It is less invasive than a surgical biopsy,
requires only a local anesthetic, leaves little or no scarring and is performed
in less than an hour, without ever leaving the MRI suite.
"Early detection of breast cancer saves lives, and MRI-guided biopsy can
quickly and accurately provide tissue for analysis in a minimally invasive
manner. It is a real plus for both the patient and the radiologist who is
committed to providing high-quality patient care," he added.
The new MRI-guided breast biopsy service is the latest in a long line of
enhancements to women's health services at Marlborough Hospital. Last year, the
hospital began offering digital mammography and high-definition MRI breast
imaging. The hospital and its team of radiologists also implemented rapid follow
up testing for women with a positive screening mammogram.
Dr. Garrell stressed that high-definition MRI breast imaging is not
necessarily needed instead of mammography for annual screenings. "For the
majority of women, mammography is very appropriate for their screening needs,"
he explained. "While many women are asking for MRI breast imaging instead of a
mammogram, there are drawbacks, and it may be inappropriate, depending on the
According to American Cancer Society guidelines published last March, women
with an especially high risk of developing breast cancer should get a breast MRI
scan along with their yearly mammogram. The two tests together give doctors a
better chance of finding breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and the
chance of survival is greatest. "For women diagnosed with breast cancer, who
have the so called ‘breast cancer gene' (an abnormal BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene), or
may have a family history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or both, a breast
MRI is the right choice. I really encourage women to work with their doctor to
determine their risk," continued Dr. Garrell.
In 2005, through a partnership with Shields Health Care Group, Central
Massachusetts Magnetic Imaging Center and Marlborough Radiology Associates,
Marlborough Hospital became the first community hospital in the Northeast to
offer high-definition MRI services in a state-of-the-art mobile unit. "When we
began this partnership, we envisioned our MRI suite would become a critical
building block for the expansion of diagnostic imaging services provided at the
hospital," explained John Polanowicz, president and CEO of Marlborough Hospital.
"Today, Marlborough Hospital offers a wide range of high-quality diagnostic
imaging services and is a premier women's imaging site." Added Jack Shields,
president of Shields Health Care Group: "We are proud that our MRI unit at
Marlborough Hospital is so successful and able to provide advanced medical
imaging technology, which in partnership with the hospital's physician
expertise, allows these important procedures to be offered locally."
The hospital's team of board-certified radiologists has also established a
reputation for clinical excellence. Dr. Garrell is a leading specialist in the
area in conducting MRI guided breast biopsies. The hospital's other
radiologists, Jonathan Arnow, MD, and Mark Sykes, MD, review more than 1,000
breast imaging cases a year, a milestone that places Marlborough Hospital among
the top providers of women's imaging services on the community hospital level in
"We've worked diligently over the last several years to make Marlborough
Hospital a first-rate site for women's imaging," concluded Mr. Polanowicz. "Our
new MRI-guided breast biopsy service is a real benefit for the women in our
The Marlborough Hospital/Shields Health Care MRI is available Monday
through Friday, 6 am to 11 pm and Saturdays, 6 am to 6 pm. A physician's order
is required. To book an MRI, call 800-258-4674, extension 3355.To schedule an
appointment at the Marlborough Hospital Women's Health Center for a digital
mammogram, call 508-486-5566.
A screening breast MRI may be the right choice for women who have a
family history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or both. Marlborough Hospital
offers an array of women's health imaging services, including bone density
screenings, digital mammography, rapid follow-up breast ultrasound, stereotatic
breast biopsy, MRI breast imaging and, now, MRI-guided breast biopsy all in one