Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Molecular Breast Imaging

Patient Information

Appointment Scheduling

Monday - Friday,
7:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
7:10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI)

What is Molecular Breast Imaging and what should I expect?

Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI) is an imaging technique that can identify tumors in mammographically dense breasts often not visible with digital mammography or ultrasound. Mammography uses x-ray technology, so the images of both tumors and dense breast tissue often appear white. Clinical studies show that MBI allows differentiation of the tumor and is able to detect up to 3 times as many cancers in women with dense breast tissue. The radiation dose is roughly equivalent to digital mammography.

Molecular Breast Imaging feels similar to a mammogram, except with much less compression. Before the images are taken, your nuclear medicine technologists injects a radioisotope that is absorbed by cancer cells more than it is absorbed by normal cells, making the cancer cells appear white on the images.

When will my doctor ask for Molecular Breast Imaging?

Your physician may recommend Molecular Breast Imaging to help identify questionable findings arising from a mammogram or if lumps are found with a physical exam.

Women who have dense breast tissue may have improved detection of early breast cancer with MBI in conjunction with mammography. Breast density can be determined by your breast radiologist using mammography.

In addition to dense breast tissue, your physician may order MBI if you meet any of the following:

  • You have abnormal findings after a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound
  • You are at a high risk for malignancy or for the evaluation of a suspected recurrence
  • You have breast implants
  • You need to have an MRI but you have an implant such as a pacemaker
  • You have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation
  • You were recently diagnosed with breast cancer
  • To assess your response to chemotherapy

How do I schedule a Molecular Breast Imaging exam?

Your referring physician will write you an order. To schedule your appointment, call 281–242–PINK (7465)!

If you have questions or concerns about your procedure, please contact the Breast Center nurse at 281–274–8343, or email MSLHBreastCenter@houstonmethodist.org.