Curriculum Overview

The Breast Imaging Fellowship provides advanced clinical training in diagnostic and interventional procedures including:

  • Breast aspirations
  • Breast ultrasounds
  • Contrast-enhanced Mammography
  • Lymph node mapping
  • MRI of the breasts
  • MRI-guided breast biopsies
  • Screening and diagnostic mammograms
  • Stereotactic breast biopsies including 3D guided biopsies
  • Ultrasound-guided core needle breast biopsies
  • Wire and wireless breast lesion localizations

Collaborative Experiences

The Breast Imaging Section maintains strong relationships with departments involved with breast cancer care. This gives fellows the opportunity to broaden their educational experiences. Multidisciplinary conferences allow the fellow to see nearly every new case of breast cancer that presents to our institution. These conferences include collaboration between:

  • Radiation oncology
  • Oncologic surgery
  • Hematology-oncology
  • Plastic surgery
  • Pathology

An active radiation oncology department provides a substantial caseload of patients treated for breast cancer with lumpectomy and radiation. With the plastic surgery referral center, the breast imager is exposed to a significant population of women with breast implants and breast reconstruction. Three oncologic surgeons at our medical center are active in breast cancer surgery.

Technology and Equipment

The Breast Imaging Fellowship program has access to full breast imaging capabilities, including:

  • Multiple full-field digital 2D and 3D mammography units
  • A prone stereotactic mammography table
  • An upright 3D stereotactic biopsy unit
  • Multiple dedicated breast ultrasound units, one of which is used for interventional procedures
  • A breast MRI coil with biopsy capability
  • A research positron emission mammography (PEM) device

Clinical Rotations and Responsibilities

Fellows are involved in interpreting mammograms, ultrasounds, and MRIs as well as performing image-guided procedures. In the first 6 months of training, breast imaging exams will be read under the supervision of faculty. When the faculty members are comfortable with the fellow’s level of training, the fellow may be responsible for occasional independent interpretation. Faculty will be available to consult as needed during these times. The fellowship allows for 6 weeks of elective time if desired.

Conferences and Didactics

The fellows present imaging studies at multidisciplinary breast cancer conferences. Fellows also participate in giving occasional resident conferences throughout the year.

Breast Imaging Research

Fellows are encouraged to participate in the numerous ongoing advanced research programs led by the section.

Highlights of our ongoing research activities include:

  • Accrual site for the ISPY-2 trial, which is a multicenter trial looking at neoadjuvant treatment of locally advanced breast cancers (read summary)
  • Biodegradable Polymer Mesh for Encapsulation of Metal Biomarkers Used in Tissue Biopsy
  • Accrual site for TMIST (Tomosynthesis Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial), which compares digital 2D to tomosynthesis/3D screening mammography
  • Migration of Biopsy Markers: A retrospective review

Members of the Department of Radiology include a group of engineers and physicists who are actively engaged in:

  • Development of magnetic resonance imaging
  • Digital tomosynthesis
  • Teleradiology
  • Picture archiving and communication systems

In addition, we have resources available in the departments of anatomy, pathology and biostatistics.

Research and development funds are available from the department and from North Carolina Baptist Hospital for meritorious pilot research projects by the fellows.