MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. A breast MRI is used to evaluate a suspicious mass in the breast tissue. This test is non-invasive and does not expose you to any radiation. During a breast MRI scan, many very thin 2-dimensional pictures are taken and assembled into 3-dimensional pictures by a computer. This allows the doctor to look layer by layer at the breasts and provides greater detail to aid in the diagnostic process. Images are recorded before and after a contrast dye is administered.
Breast MRI is not a replacement for mammography or ultrasound, but rather an additional tool that provides valuable diagnostic information that cannot be gathered using other imaging techniques. Breast MRI may be used to evaluate women at high risk for breast cancer (e.g. family history), hard-to-assess abnormalities seen on mammography, lumpectomy sites in the years following breast cancer treatments and the conditions of breast implants. It is also recommended after a positive biopsy and before surgery to find any additional tumors in the same or opposite breast or in the lymph nodes.
When scheduling your appointment provide us with your email address and we will send you personalized forms with your information already filled in. You will only have to update or add any missing information. If your email address is not provided, you can still save time by downloading the Registration Forms and completing them prior to arriving at the office.
Notify our staff if you have any metal or medical devices in your body. This exam may NOT be performed if you have a cardiac pacemaker, cerebral aneurysm clips or a metallic hearing implant. You must remove all jewelry and any other metallic objects such as hearing aids, jeans with metal zippers, body piercings and removable dental work. Wearing a sweatsuit with no metal may prevent you from having to change into a gown.
If you have impaired kidney function, are diabetic or are 70 years of age or older, we will do certain lab work at the time of your exam to assess your kidney function. It is important to inform us if you are taking any medications, especially hydroxyurea.
All metal must be removed before your scan including jewelry, dentures, eyeglasses, belt buckles and any clothing with metal zippers or buttons. If your clothing contains any metal, you will need to change into a gown. The MRI technologist will confirm that you are free of all metal and review your medical history with you.
The nurse or technologist will place the intravenous needle/catheter into a vein in your arm or hand. Then at a specific time in the exam, contrast will be injected into your I.V. You will then be brought into the MRI room and comfortably positioned face down on a padded scanning table. Your breasts fit into a hollow depression in the table equipped with a special surface coil. The coil maximizes the administration and recording of the radio frequency bursts and the magnetic fields to ensure the clearest possible images.
The scanning table you are lying on will be moved into the center of the magnet and the test will begin. The machine never touches you. Be sure to remain as still as possible to ensure the best possible images. Although the MRI technologist cannot stay in the room with you during the scan, he or she will be able to talk to you from outside the room through an intercom.
The first set of images is taken without contrast. Then the contrast dye will be administered and additional images will be taken. Once all of the images have been recorded, the scanning table will move out of the MRI machine and the nurse or technologist will return to remove the I.V. and assist you off the table. The entire breast MRI procedure takes between 40 to 60 minutes to complete. The exam with sedation will take longer.
Present your prescription, insurance card and completed forms at the front desk. If any additional forms are required, they will be given to you at this time.
One of our subspecialty trained breast imaging radiologist interprets your MRI images, compares them to any previous studies and dictates a report which is transcribed, proofread and signed. Your doctor will read the report and review the findings with you. All of your signed reports and images are available to your referring doctor on our physician web portal.