3D laser scanning proves MRI’s equal at assessing breast volume

Aussie researchers have found protocoled 3D laser scanning to be as good as noncontrast MRI for assessing breast volume, according to a small study running in the April edition of Annals of Plastic Surgery.

PhD candidate Benjamin Howes and colleagues at Flinders University in South Australia compared the two modalities by imaging 18 women with both scan types one day prior to receiving breast reconstruction surgery and then again six months later.

The scans yielded a total of 72 comparisons for analysis. From these the researchers found a strong linear association between the two methods (r = 0.79; P <0.001), as well as a high level of agreement on Bland-Altman data plotting.

“The ideal breast volume measurement technique should be low cost, comfortable for the patient, have no ionizing radiation and be non-invasive,” the authors write.

“Given the convenience of laser scanning and potential for lower cost compared with MRI,” they conclude, “this technique should be considered for quantifying outcomes after complex breast reconstruction when the equipment is available.”

Dr. Nicola Dean, a breast-reconstruction specialist, was a senior author of the study.