The Barbara Kort Women's Imaging Center is located at:
1260 15th Street, Suite 111
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Our phone number is 310.393.5153
We offer state of the art breast imaging equipment including digital mammography, ultrasound, breast MRI and breast biopsy. UCLA Breast Imaging was the first facility in California to become 100% digital and have been so since 2005.
Your breast imaging specialist is a physician who is board-certified in radiology with additional subspecialty training in breast imaging and interventional procedures.
There are two types of mammography, screening and diagnostic. Screening mammography is an examination of an asymptomatic woman used to detect breast cancer before it can be felt. Diagnostic mammography is an examination of a symptomatic woman, such as a woman with a breast lump or an abnormal screening mammography result. It is a custom tailored evaluation that uses special mammographic views often in combination with ultrasound to determine the cause of the breast lump or other abnormality. After a diagnostic mammogram the patient meets with her breast imaging radiologist to discuss the results of her special mammograms and any recommendations for further care.
Ultrasound utilizes sound waves to image the breast and is commonly used in conjunction with mammography for the evaluation of breast lumps or to guide interventional procedures such as breast biopsy or certain pre-surgical wire localizations. Unlike mammography, ultrasound is not able to visualize breast calcifications; however, it may be able to detect certain breast masses that are not seen by mammography.
MRI or magnetic resonance imaging utilizes strong magnetic fields in conjunction with radio waves to create images of the breasts and blood flow patterns. A breast MRI takes approximately 20-25 minutes to perform and requires that the patient receive an injection of a special contrast agent into her arm vein called gadolinium. It is very important that the patient be able to lie very still during this test. It is a powerful technology that has a very high likelihood of detecting breast cancer if present. However, it should only be used in select patients, as it is also likely to identify common non-cancerous breast conditions that may need further evaluation or biopsy for clarification.
A breast imaging-guided core needle biopsy is the most common technique used to sample a small portion of an abnormal breast mass or suspicious calcifications. The biopsy needle can be guided using ultrasound or mammography. Ultrasound-guided core needle biopsy is typically used to biopsy a solid mass. When mammography is used to guide the biopsy needle, it is called a stereotactic core needle biopsy and is typically performed to sample a group of calcifications. The biopsy usually takes about 20-30 minutes to perform and local anesthetic is always used to alleviate pain. After the biopsy, a tiny marker called a micro-clip is placed at the biopsy site to mark its location. Most women are able to return to their usual daily activities the next day.
If you require surgery to biopsy or remove an abnormal area of breast tissue, your surgeon may refer you for pre-surgical needle/wire localization. This procedure is usually performed when the abnormality in your breast cannot be felt or palpated by your surgeon. The pre-surgical needle/wire is placed using local anesthesia to mark the location of the abnormality so that your surgeon can confidently remove it without having to remove a large amount of surrounding normal tissue. Placement of the pre-surgical needle/wire is performed in our imaging center prior to your surgery and can be placed using either mammography or ultrasound for guidance. Typically, your radiologist decides on the guidance method that is best for you based on how the abnormal area is best seen.
A ductogram (or galactogram) is a special test performed to opacify the (milk) duct system of the breast in a woman with nipple discharge. A very, very thin cannula (tube) is placed a few millimeters into the nipple opening and a very small amount of x-ray dye is injected. Next, special mammograms are taken to visualize the milk ducts and check for any growths that may be causing the nipple discharge.