MRI of the Breast
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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive exam that allows physicians to look inside the body to diagnose medical conditions. It is an important exam that can lead to early detection and treatment of disease.
MR imaging uses a powerful magnetic field to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and other internal body structures. The images can then be examined on a computer monitor. There is no radiation used with an MRI exam.
Detailed images allow physicians to better evaluate parts of the body and determine whether there is a certain disease present. MRI of the breast offers valuable information about many breast conditions that cannot be obtained by other imaging modalities, such as mammography or ultrasound.
MRI is more accurate at diagnosing certain diseases that may not be assessed adequately with other imaging exams such as x-ray, ultrasound or CT scans.
Need to Know
Nice to Know
Why is This Exam Done?
MRI of the breast is an additional tool to help evaluate breast abnormalities. It is not a replacement for a mammogram.
MRI of the breast is useful and effective for:
- Detecting tumor location
- Identifying breast cancer at an early stage that could not be detected by other imaging exams, especially in women with dense breast tissue
- Further evaluating abnormalities detected by mammography or ultrasound
- Determining whether known cancer has spread
- Viewing cysts
- Detecting the presence of enlarged lymph nodes
- Detecting enlarged ducts
What Will Happen During the Exam?
You will be asked to change completely into a gown. Our experienced MRI technologist will then position you on the exam table. You will be asked to lay still. This is to ensure the best quality pictures (images). You will lie face down on your stomach with your breasts hanging freely into cushioned openings. If contrast is being used, the technologist will insert an IV line into a vein in your hand or arm.
The technologist will leave the room during your exam but you will be able to see and hear them in the control room. They will check in with you during your exam to make sure you are comfortable and do not need anything.
How Should I Prepare?
- Please inform the technologist if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant.
- You will be asked to wear a gown during the exam. You will be asked to remove undergarments that have any metal fasteners.
- You will be asked if you have any known allergies to contrast.
- Please let the technologist know if you have any serious health problems. You can not be given contrast if you have certain health conditions, such as kidney disease.
- Jewelry and other metal objects can not be worn during the exam. Please try to leave them at home if possible.
- You should tell the technologist if you have any implanted medical devices or anything metal in your body. These may interfere with the exam or be dangerous to have an MRI because of the strength of the MRI magnet.
What Are the Benefits and Risks?
The benefits of MRI of the Breast:
- No radiation exposure
- Allows for accurate diagnosis for a broad range of condition and diseases including heart disease, cancer and muscular and bone disorders
Risks you should be aware of:
- Implanted medical devices that contain metal may malfunction or cause problems during an MRI exam
- There is a very slight risk of an allergic reaction if contrast is injected. Our highly skilled physicians are on hand for immediate assistance should you need assistance
Where Can I Get This Exam?
MRI of the Breast is performed at the locations: