1. What forms the basis for MEIK in the diagnostics of breast disease?

A living organism does not only generate bioelectricity, but passively conducts the current, which either occurs in it or is applied from outside. Electrical conductivity depends on the histological structure of the organ, its molecular composition, and its elementary composition (structure and number of free electrical charges, their mobility). Electrical properties of many malignant formations considerably differ from the healthy tissues surrounding them. While X-Ray and Ultrasound methods of diagnostics construct images using the level of contrast between healthy and malignant tissue, electrical impedance tomography diagnostics uses the electrical conductivity of such tissues to construct images of the breast. This phenomenon is used in detection and localization of tumors and other breast abnormalities.

2. What is impedance?

It is a physical value that characterizes the electrical resistance of a system (from Latin impedire - "to cause hindrance"). Electrical impedance is the total resistance of the electrical circuit to the alternative current passing through it. In general, it is a geometrical sum of active resistance of the electrical circuit and reactive resistance (reactance), measured in Ohm.

3. What parameters of electrical current can be used in medicine, and in mammography in particular?

In medical diagnostics, particularly in electrical impedance mammography, the alternative current of a rather high frequency is used (as a rule, over 1 kHz). Due to the high polarization degree of the intercellular membranes and the working electrodes high electrical conductivity, measurements of biological systems using direct current is extremely difficult. The permissible value of the current is limited by its biological impact on the cells of living tissue; the former grows with the increase of frequency. The current used for scanning in MEIK is within the range of 0,5 mA with a frequency of 50 kHz. These parameters of measurement are absolutely harmless for patients.

4. What are the outlooks for utilizing the multi-frequency scanning?

We studied possibilities of the multi-frequency scanning for the visualization of a mammary tumor. ("Electro-impedance mammography testing at some physiological woman's periods". A.Karpov, O.Trochanova, XI international conference on electrical bio-impedance. Oslo, Norway, 2001; "Changes in electrical conductivity of mammary gland at multi-frequency measurement", A.Karpov, O.Trochanova, XVIII scientific and practical conference. Yaroslavl, 2001). But application of the current with frequency within the range of ?- dispersion (102 - 108 Hz) for breast scanning failed to bring the expected results. The 5th version of MEIK comprises this possibility. We recommend using it only as a tool for research only.

5. How painful is the examination?

The examination, being absolutely painless during the diagnostics and after it, lasts about 30 seconds.

6. What are the indications for impedance mammography?

Electrical impedance tomography can be utilized in detecting a whole range of breast diseases, namely: benign and malignant neoplasms, mastopathies, mastitis, and so on. In addition, electrical impedance can be used for dynamic monitoring of women comprising of a risk group in order to check the efficiency of treatment. With the help of MEIK, examinations conducted during pregnancy as well as after birth, supplies doctors with valuable information concerning the particulars of lactation period. This method of screening is widely used for women who take oral contraceptives and undergo substitutive hormone therapy in climacterical stages.

7. Do any contraindications exist for using the method of impedance mammography?

Impedance mammography is absolutely harmless for a human being, this is why it can be used at any age period, including lactation period and pregnancy.

8. How often can impedance mammography be used?

The examination can be used without time limitations since it is not accompanied by any radiation exposure. The examination can be carried out when recommended by the physician at any time interval. It can be used during a menstrual cycle in order to define breast functional particulars (dynamic mammography). In perimenopause, it should be done at least one a year.

9. Who should conduct the examination in question?

The examination should be performed by doctors familiar with breast anatomy, physiology, and pathology, namely: obstetricians, oncologists, or radiologists. When carrying out an examination, it is preferable to have a nurses assistance since it speeds up the procedure and increases efficiency.

10. Is it possible to diagnose malignant growth?

Due to the difference in electrical conductivity of malignant and healthy tissues existing from the initial stage of the tumor process, the device is capable of performing early detection of the malignant growth.

11. What minimum size of tumor can be detected with the help of impedance mammography?

According to the existing statistical data, the smallest detected tumors were 3-5 mm.

12. What are the operational characteristics of impedance mammography (sensitivity, specificity, etc.)?

Sensitivity amounts to 92%, specificity- 99%, prognostication of positive - 73%, prognostication of negative result - 99%.

13. What method should be used for detection of malignant diseases? For benign diseases?

It is not correct to discuss preferences of any method in detecting any disease. There are no 100% results in diagnostics in either benign or malignant diseases of the breast anywhere in the world. When choosing the appropriate method, one should be guided by the criteria of safety and appropriateness. Taking into account the high degree of sensitivity and specificity of MEIK and, at the same time, its absolute safety, we can recommend starting examination with this method in particular. It case of necessity, a more detailed examination can be recommended.

14. Is it recommended to use the method in question for screening purposes?

The method of impedance mammography meets all demands of screening: safety, affordability, and comprehensiveness. It can be performed within a short period of time in a room with limited sizes.

15. Does a MEIK examination require any special condition?

A MEIK examination does not need any special procedures. The examination is carried out at room temperature, in rooms with average humidity. The patient takes a lying position on the examination bed.

16. How long does the examination last?

The length of examination procedure is 30 - 35 seconds. The process of diagnostic examination from the moment of obtaining the case history to establishing a conclusion amounts to 15 minutes. Screening examination lasts about 5 minutes.

17. What is the cost of the examination procedure?

When comparing the cost of various equipment utilized for the similar tests, it is possible to say that the examination in question is cheaper than X-Ray mammography and ultrasound examination, as well as MRI.

18. Can the impedance mammography provoke any complications?

We have never witnessed any complications after impedance mammography.


Clinical Trials:

Mobecomm Inc., based in Montreal, Canada, is a leading provider of innovative solutions for the health industry. Mobecomm's main focus lies in providing solutions for early detection of Breast Cancer along with a comprehensive management system for health care providers.

Mobecomm's strength lies in its dedicated and customer-oriented team that possesses exceptional technical and domain-related expertise, and is backed by professional project management skills and a visionary leadership.