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Evaluation and Diagnosis
MRI of the Breast

What 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 performed?
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 hospital.

What happens during the breast MRI?
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 clear.

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 MRI take?
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.

 
 
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