Breast MRI is a non-invasive procedure that physicians can use to determine what the inside of the breast looks like. MRI uses a large magnet, radio waves and a computer to scan your breasts and produce particularly clear pictures that cannot be seen on conventional X-rays. The detection of breast cancer can often be made through an MRI without subjecting the patient to compression techniques of mammography or to unnecessary biopsies.
Breast MRI is currently not recommended for routine screening. Breast MRI is recommended by The American Cancer Society for women with dense breasts, patients with a strong family or genetic history (BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes) of breast disease, and for clarification of inconclusive findings from other detection techniques. Additional established applications for breast MRI include: staging of breast cancer, searching for primary breast cancer in patients with metastatic lymphadenopathy, evaluation of patients post chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy and evaluation of breast implants.
Prior to being placed in the MRI machine, a radiology nurse will start an IV in your arm. A contrast agent called gadolinium will be administered through the IV shortly after the exam begins. If you have allergies to certain medications or have kidney disease, you should make your physician aware, prior to scheduling the study.
You will be positioned lying on your stomach, with your breasts positioned down into the breast coil opening. This position alleviates the feeling of claustrophobia, since you can look out into the room. You will be wearing a gown at all times.
During the exam you will hear loud banging noises coming from the machine. This is normal. You may bring your favorite CD to listen to or you will be offered earplugs.
The MRI exam takes approximately 25 minutes to create the images. The whole procedure including having the IV placed and being put into proper position in the MRI machine takes approximately 45-60 minutes.
Contrast enables the radiologist to see the vascularization (numbers of vessels) a lesion has. Essentially contrast is used to evaluate whether lesions exist and whether they need further evaluation.
Those patients who have renal disease or who are pregnant, breast-feeding or have a history of sickle cell disease should inform the technologist prior to receiving the contrast.
No preparation is necessary. We do ask that you bring in your most recent mammography/ ultrasound films at the time of your exam. Patients, who have had their prior exams done at the Community Medical Center and have not signed out their films, need not worry about this. Arrangements will be made to have these films at the time of your exam.
When you arrive you will be asked to complete our Patient History Questionnaire and our MRI Breast Screening questionnaire. If you would like to review and complete these forms prior to your arrival click on the form links referenced above.
Please be aware of any insurance and/or referral requirements prior to your appointment.
Please note that following an MRI study of the Breast, that it may be necessary to have additional mammographic images or a repeat ultrasound to better locate a finding or findings. This may occur even if you have recently had a mammogram or ultrasound at this institution or an outside institution.
When applicable, please schedule your exam between days 6 and 17 of the menstrual cycle (day one is the 1st day of menses), otherwise there may be excessive enhancement of normal breast glandular tissue. This may require a callback for re-evaluation.