Breast MRI

What is a Breast MRI?

Breast magnetic resonance (MR) imaging may help physicians evaluate the extent of a known breast cancer, screen high-risk patients and further evaluate areas of concern found on mammograms and ultrasounds or during physical examinations. The American Cancer Society recommends breast magnetic resonance imaging screens for women with a 20 percent to 25 percent lifetime risk for breast cancer. MR imaging involves the use of magnets and computers to create images of areas inside the body. A computer compiles hundreds of images from each MR scan. Each image shows a thin, horizontal slice of breast tissue. During breast MR examinations, use of a contrast dye provides detailed images of the breast. MR scans reveal masses, but the technology is sensitive enough to detect increased vascularization (blood vessel formation) that feeds tumors.

During your examination

You will be asked to lay face down with your breast in a special device known as a coil. The coil is used to improve image quality. Your arms will be at your side.

Breast imaging is very sensitive to motion. Even the slightest movement or position adjustment during the exam may cause inaccurate findings. Therefore it is very important that you make yourself comfortable and lay motionless until the exam is completed.

The scanning table will slide your entire body into the magnet.

During the scan you will not feel anything, but will hear intermittent humming, thumping, clicking, and knocking sounds. Earplugs will be provided to help mask the noise and allow you to listen to music.

In most cases, the imaging physician requests a contrast agent (dye) to improve the quality of the images. The dye is injected into a vein in the arm, and may cause a cool sensation.

The technologist is always able to see and hear you during the exam.

The exam will take approximately 60 minutes.

After your examination

There are no restrictions placed upon you. You may eat or drive as normal.

Your films will be examined by one of our radiologists and a report will then be sent to your doctor. Your doctor will review the results with you and discuss what they mean in relation to your health.