What is the ACR Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS)?

Updated: Oct 17, 2016
  • Author: Nagwa Dongola, MD, FRCR; Chief Editor: Peter Eby, MD  more...
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The American College of Radiology (ACR) has established the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) to guide the breast cancer screening and diagnostic routine. BI-RADS is the product of a collaborative effort between members of various committees of the ACR with cooperation from the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the FDA, the American Medical Association, the American College of Surgeons, and the American College of Pathologists. [7]

The BI-RADS atlas provides a standardized system for performing breast imaging examinations, interpreting the findings, reporting the results, communicating recommendations to patients and providers, and auditing statistical performance. There are separate guidance chapters for mammography, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). According to the ACR, the BI-RADS system is intended to guide radiologists and referring physicians in the breast cancer decision-making process that facilitates patient care.

BI-RADS categories or levels are used to standardize interpretation of mammograms among radiologists. They are useful for statistical analysis of mammography practice, and BI-RADS results are compiled in the National Mammography Database in the United States to help refine mammographic procedures everywhere.

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