We've received a few questions lately regarding the likely downstream utilization of breast MRI from screening mammography. While there have beena number of helpful studies published recently regarding services downstream from mammography, these papers did not include breast MRI in the analysis.
One data comparison that may be helpful is to look at the number of outpatient breast MRI procedures versus the number of screening mammograms. Looking at 2008 estimated volumes, the number would come to 2.6 breast MRs for every 100 screening mammograms. That number is not precise, as it's not directly causal--there is a lot of breast MRI volume that is done for screening and therefore not directly downstream from a screening mammogram. But I think the numbers are helpful to consider.
At this point, perhaps the best thing to benchmark is breast MRI as a percent of total outpatient MRI volume. We estimate breast MRI now accounts for 2.6 percent of total outpatient MRI demand, with that growing to 3.0 percent by 2012. However, if your program is currently focusing on breast MRI growth, then your percentage may be higher.