of the Breast
is breast MRI?
A breast MRI, (Magnetic Resonance
Imaging), uses strong magnets and radio waves
to create clear detailed pictures of the insides
of your breast. It does not use x-ray. The energy
from the radio waves is absorbed and released
in a pattern. A computer translates this information
into a detailed image for the radiologist. You
will have an IV inserted. A contrast material
called gadolinium is injected by IV to better
differentiate the details.
When is breast MRI
In some patients, MRI may be
helpful to diagnose breast cancers that may be
difficult to detect by mammography or breast ultrasound.
A breast MRI may also be used to further evaluate
questionable areas seen on a mammogram or breast
ultrasound. MRI is now being used in some cases
when a new diagnosis of breast cancer has been
made, to assist your physician in treatment planning.
MRI may also be beneficial for screening women
at very high risk for breast cancer, especially
those suspected or found proven to have BRCA-1
or BRCA-2 gene mutations.
Are there any risks
to having a breast MRI?
People with cardiac pacemakers
cannot have MRI nor should they be in the MRI
area. This is also true for people with some forms
of metal in their bodies like artificial joints,
cochlear ear implants, and artificial heart valves.
Is there any preparation
for the breast MRI?
Do not bring anything metallic
into the room. This includes jewelry, watches,
credit cards, hearing aids, removable dental work,
pins, or zippers.
If you get uncomfortable in small
places (claustrophobia), you may want to ask us
to prescribe a sedative to take shortly before
the test. If you receive a sedative, you will
need someone who can drive you to and from the
What happens during the
You will be asked to undress
and change into a patient gown. You will lie down
on a table. The table will then be slid into a
tunnel-like tube. This tube is inside a large
scanner that contains the imaging magnets. You
will be asked to remain still throughout the test,
while several pictures will be taken of your breast
or breasts. Movements can make the images less
Will the breast MRI hurt?
The MRI test does not hurt.
The table may be hard and cold. A pillow or blanket
can be provided as long as it doesn’t interfere
with the test. The machine is noisy and you may
hear loud thumping or humming sounds. Earplugs
can be used to reduce the noise. Some people experience
anxiety or claustrophobia since the inside of
the MRI tube is small. Taking a sedative before
the test may help.
How long will the breast
The complete test will take
about one hour. The technologist will watch you
throughout the entire procedure from just outside
the room and will be able to answer any questions
via an intercom. The technologist will check to
see how you are doing, and tell you what is about
to happen and how much longer the test will take.
When do I learn the results
of the MRI?
A breast MRI report will be
sent to our office shortly after the test is completed,
usually within 48 hours. We will call you to discuss
the results with you.
Is a breast MRI covered
by my insurance?
All insurance companies are
different. We would recommend you check with your
insurance company prior to scheduling. Most companies
will cover MRI but some require precertification.
By checking with your company in advance, it will
help prevent frustration later.
If you have additional questions
or concerns, please call us at 847-797-9000.