What is Breast MRI?
Breast MRI uses Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to look at the tissues of the breast. It is a non-invasive study used to further assess if tissue seen by mammography is normal or abnormal. Unlike mammography, Breast MRI does not compress the breast.
It is important to note that Breast MRI is not a replacement for traditional Mammography and breast self-exams but is extremely useful for women who either have a high-risk or a known breast cancer. It is also useful for determining if a woman who has implants has experienced a rupture or if a woman has particularly dense breast tissue.
Each Breast MRI exam produces hundreds of images of the breast, cross-sectional in all three directions (side-to-side, top-to-bottom, front-to-back), which are then read by a Radiologist.
What should I expect?
Before a Breast MRI, the patient may be prepared to receive a contrast agent through an IV in the arm. This contrast agent will help to “highlight” the tissues so abnormalities can be seen more clearly.
During a Breast MRI, the patient lies on her stomach with both breasts resting in a cushioned recess known as the “breast coil”. If IV contrast is being used, it will be administered at this time. Generally, IV contrast is very safe. Be sure to tell the Technologist if you have ever had a reaction to MRI contrast or if you are particularly sensitive to medications.
Once the IV is started, the entire table the patient is lying on is advanced into the opening of the MRI machine. The patient will be asked to lie still for up to 15 minutes at a time while the computer acquires the images; the total examination is made up of several scans, usually 5 to 15 minutes in length and the patient is usually in the exam room for about 45 minutes.
Preparing for a Breast MRI
There is no special preparation for a Breast MRI. However, because MRI imaging uses a very strong magnet, the patient will be asked to remove eyeglasses, watches, jewelry, dentures, hearing aids, or other metallic objects. In addition, be sure to inform the radiologist if you are pregnant.
How and when will you receive your results?
After your study is over, the images will be evaluated by Karen Baker, M.D. or Belinda Barclay-White, M.D., our Breast Imaging Specialists. A final report will be sent to your physician who can then discuss the results with you in detail.
Breast MRI is performed at:
To schedule an appointment, contact us.