Additional Workups Recommended During Preoperative Breast MRI: Methods to Gain Efficiency and Limit Confusion

Santo Maimone, Andrey P. Morozov, Zhuo Li, Emily C. Craver, Erin A. Elder, Sarah A. McLaughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Preoperative breast MRI is indicated for staging but can lead to complex imaging workups. This study reviewed imaging recommendations made on preoperative MRI exams, to simplify management approaches for patients with newly diagnosed breast cancer. Methods: This retrospective single-institution review was restricted to women with breast cancer who underwent staging MRI. Additional breast lesions, separate from index tumors, recommended for additional workup or surveillance were assessed to see which were detected and which characteristics predicted success in detection. Univariate mixed-effects logistic modeling predicted the likelihood of finding lesions using MRI-directed ultrasound (US), with odds ratios reported. Tests were two-sided, with a p value lower than 0.05 considered significant. Results: In this study, 534 (39.6%) patients had recommendations for additional workup after preoperative MRI. MRI detected additional malignancy in 178 patients (33.3%). Half of the 66 patients who refused an additional workup and opted for mastectomy had additional malignancies at mastectomy. MRI-directed US was 14 times more likely to detect masses than nonmass enhancement (NME) (p < 0.001). NME was detected on US in only 16% of cases, with one third of subsequent biopsy results considered discordant. Probably benign assessments were given to 35 patients, with 23% not returning for follow-up evaluation and 7% returning at least 6 months later than recommended. Conclusion: Use of preoperative breast MRI has increased. Although it can add value, institutions should establish indications and expectations to prevent unnecessary workups. Limiting MRI-directed US to masses, avoiding probably benign assessments, and consulting with patients after MRI but prior to workups can prevent unnecessary exams and confusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3839-3848
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of surgical oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Breast cancer
  • MRI
  • Staging
  • Ultrasound
  • Workup

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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