Breast MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a tool for evaluating breast issues. It can be used in addition to mammography in certain cases. Mammography uses low dose X-rays to look at the breasts. MRI creates three-dimensional pictures using a powerful magnet and radio waves.
Breast MRI is performed using a contrast material called gadolinium. It is injected through an IV partway through the exam. MRI can show breast abnormalities, difference between benign and malignant tissue, size and location of suspicious tissue and enlarged lymph nodes in the chest and underarm area.
MRI may be used to screen women who have:
MRI may also be used to:
People who should NOT have an MRI include those who have a pacemaker, cochlear implant, neurostimulator or an aneurysm clip.
Schedule your exam between days 7 to 14 from the first day of your menstrual cycle. If you have had a recent mammogram, ultrasound or MRI at another facility, please bring your films or CDs and reports to the exam. Please provide requested information about your medical history before you have your MRI.
The day of your MRI:
During your MRI:
You will be asked to kneel on the MRI table and lean on your stomach and chest on a smaller padded table during the exam. Tell the technologist if you have concerns about being in this position.
You will lie face down with your breasts placed into openings on an exam table. This is not like a mammogram — your breasts are not compressed during an MRI.
You will be asked to lie very still and breathe normally. The exam table will move into a round machine where the images will be taken.
This machine will make loud thumping and humming sounds as the pictures are being taken; hearing protection is provided to quiet the noise.
MRI machines are equipped with intercoms, which allow you to talk to the technologist before and during the exam.
You can do all of your normal activities right after the exam. The radiologist will read your MRI and will send a report to your health care provider. This procedure takes hundreds of pictures, so your report will not be available while you wait.