About Breast MRI Exams
A Breast MRI uses a powerful but harmless magnetic field to create an image of the body. This involves no x-rays or radiation. This method of imaging is complimentary to mammography and ultrasound. An abnormality found on MRI may require a focused ultrasound based on the location of the abnormality on MRI. If it is seen on ultrasound, a biopsy may be done using ultrasound. If it is not seen by focused ultrasound, a MRI guided biopsy will be scheduled or an appropriate follow up given.
To make an appointment for breast health imaging, please call 508-830-3000 and one of our dedicated breast health team members will assist you. Please note that the test does require a physician order.
Breast MRI FAQs
Please find below answers to common frequently asked patient questions about breast ultrasounds.
MRI uses a powerful but harmless magnetic field to create an image of the body. This involves no x-rays or radiation. This method of imaging is complimentary to mammography and ultrasound. An abnormality found on MRI may require a focused ultrasound based on the location of the abnormality on MRI. If it is seen on ultrasound, a biopsy may be done using ultrasound. If it is not seen by focused ultrasound, a MRI guided biopsy will be scheduled or an appropriate follow up given.
The MRI is painless. The average time for the breast MRI is 30-45 minutes. You will be asked to lie down on your stomach on a cushioned bed. Your breasts will be positioned within a padded cutout on the bed. The bed will be moved into the machine for the exam. The most important thing for you to do is to lie still. All breast exams require an injection of a contrast agent (Gadolinium). An IV will be placed in your arm before you lie on the bed so that the contrast can be administered.
Once you are settled in, the technologist will step out of the room and you will be able to speak with them through a microphone. Please let the technologist know if you get nervous or have any concerns.
You enter the MRI scanner feet first so your head is not in the scanner. If you get anxious in small or tight places, please let your doctor know prior to scheduling your MRI appointment. They may prescribe a sedative or give you other options to help deal.
You will need to lie still the entire time. You will not feel anything, but you will most likely hear tapping or thumping as the machine does its work. This is all normal. When the test is finished, the technologist will bring the table (and you) out of the machine. They will look at the images and let you know when it is okay to leave. The Radiologist will interpret the test and send the results to your physician.
Upon greeting by the technologist, you will be asked a series of questions. It is important to tell the technician if you have any metal or electronic devices implanted in your body as these may affect the image. If you have ever had metal in your eye, please tell the technologist. You should not have an MRI if you have a certain type of pacemaker, defibrillator or other implanted life-support device as the MRI may interfere with its functioning. Most VADS (ports) are MRI compatible but please discuss this with the technologist.
Breast MRI is sometimes done to image silicone breast implants. If you have breast implants, it is important that you tell the technologist when she calls prior to your exam. We will also need to know if your implants are filled with saline, silicone, oil or a combination. In addition we need to know if the implant has a polyvinyl chloride sponge covering. Please get this information from your plastic surgeon’s office before the test.
Breast MRI is an excellent method to evaluate implant rupture or breast tissue not visualized by routine mammography.
MRI is not appropriate if you have breast expanders in place following lumpectomy and prior to reconstruction. If you have breast expanders, an MRI must be delayed until the expanders have been removed and implants have been inserted as current expanders have metal components.
Clips placed in the breast at BID Plymouth during minimally invasive biopsy are not a contraindication to having an MRI.
There is nothing special to do. Before taking the test, you will be asked to remove all jewelry, hearing aids or dentures. You will need to wear clothing without any metal parts.
In some instances prior to MRI, a simple blood test may be required to assess kidney function.