(3/28/12) - With the recent accreditation of its Breast MRI department, McLeod Regional Medical Center has become the only facility in the Pee Dee or the Grand Strand to achieve those high standards. The three-year accreditation ensures that women in the region have access to the latest in breast health technology. McLeod is one of only 13 hospitals or outpatient facilities in South Carolina that are accredited in Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging by the American College of Radiology.
According to the ACR, this accreditation ensures that the McLeod Breast MRI department has gone through a rigorous review process to be sure it meets nationally accepted standards; the personnel are well qualified, through education and certification, to perform and interpret medical images; the equipment is appropriate for the test or treatment needed; and that McLeod meets or exceeds quality assurance and safety guidelines.
Magnetic resonance imaging of the breast allows a Radiologist, a physician specially trained to supervise and interpret radiology examinations, to look inside the breast without having to administer radiation. MRI is used to further investigate breast problems first detected with an abnormal mammogram or ultrasound. It is also used for "high-risk" women who have a strong family history of breast cancer.
This technology also can help determine the stage of breast cancer prior to surgery and determine the best course of treatment, including determining whether a lumpectomy or mastectomy is the best surgical choice. Because breast MRI provides detailed images of the soft-tissues, it is useful in distinguishing between scar tissue and recurrent tumors; determining breast implant integrity; monitoring treatment with chemotherapy; and screening for breast cancer in women who have scar tissue or implants. Made up of several scans, the total examination lasts about 30 minutes.
The American College of Radiology awards accreditation to facilities for the achievement of high-practice standards after a peer-reviewed evaluation of the practice. Board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field conduct the evaluation. Since 1987, ACR has accredited more than 20,000 facilities, including more than 10,000 practices in 10 different imaging modalities.
The ACR, whose headquarters are located in Reston, Va., is a national organization serving more than 34,000 diagnostic-interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists, nuclear medicine physicians, and medical physicists with programs focusing on the practice of medical imaging and radiation oncology and the delivery of comprehensive health-care services.