WHAT IS MRI OF THE BREAST?
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive medical test that helps diagnose and treat medical conditions.
MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures. MRI does not use ionizing radiation (x-rays).
Detailed MR images allow our Radiologic Physicians to evaluate various parts of the body and determine the presence of certain diseases. The images can then be examined on a computer monitor, transmitted electronically, printed or copied to a CD.
MRI of the breast offers valuable information about many breast conditions that cannot be obtained by other imaging modalities, such as mammography or ultrasound. The benefits of a Breast MRI outweigh the risk. Find out more: Breast MRI-Benefits Vs Risks.
MRI of the breast is not a replacement for mammography or ultrasound imaging but rather a supplemental tool that has many important uses, including:
- Screening in women at high risk for breast cancer
- Determining the extent of cancer after a new diagnosis of breast cancer
- Further evaluating hard-to-assess abnormalities seen on mammography
- Evaluating lumpectomy sites in the years following breast cancer treatment
- In some cases, breast cancer will be treated with chemotherapy before it has been removed by surgery. This is called neoadjuvant chemotherapy. In these cases, MRI is often used to monitor how well the chemotherapy is working and to reevaluate the amount of tumor still present before the surgery is performed.
- Evaluating breast implants. MRI is the best test for determining whether silicone implants have ruptured.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR PROCEDURE
- You may be asked to wear a gown during the exam or you may be allowed to wear your own clothing if it is loose-fitting and has no metal fasteners.
- Guidelines about eating and drinking before an MRI exam vary with the specific exam and also with the facility. Unless you are told otherwise, you may follow your regular daily routine and take food and medications as usual.
- Jewelry and other accessories should be left at home if possible, or removed prior to the MRI scan. Because they can interfere with the magnetic field of the MRI unit, metal and electronic objects are not allowed in the exam room. These items include:
- jewelry, watches, credit cards and hearing aids, all of which can be damaged
- pins, hairpins, metal zippers and similar metallic items, which can distort MRI images
- removable dental work
- pens, pocket knives and eyeglasses
- body piercings
- In most cases, an MRI exam is safe for patients with metal implants, except for a few types. People with the following implants cannot be scanned and should not enter the MRI scanning area:
- cochlear (ear) implant
- some types of clips used on brain aneurysms
- some types of metal coils placed within blood vessels
- nearly all cardiac defibrillators and pacemakers
Some MRI examinations may require the patient to receive an injection of contrast material into the bloodstream. Inform the Physician and/or Technologist if you have allergies of any kind, such as an allergy to iodine or x-ray contrast material, drugs, food, or the environment, or if you have asthma.
IMPORTANT: NOTIFY THE PHYSICIAN AND TECHNOLOGIST IMMEDIATELY IF YOU HAVE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS:
- Serious health problems
- Recently had surgery
- Claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces) or anxiety, you may want to ask your physician for a prescription for a mild sedative prior to the scheduled examination.
- Medical or electronic devices in your body, because they may interfere with the exam or potentially pose a risk, depending on their nature and the strength of the MRI magnet. Some implanted devices require a short period of time after placement (usually six weeks) before being safe for MRI examinations. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- artificial heart valves
- implanted drug infusion ports
- artificial limbs or metallic joint prostheses
- implanted nerve stimulators
- metal pins, screws, plates, stents or surgical staples
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING PROCEDURE
- You are positioned on moveable examination table.
- Straps and bolsters may be used to help you stay still and maintain correct position during imaging.
- You are positioned face down on a platform specially designed for the procedure. The platform has openings to accommodate your breasts and allow them to be imaged without compression.
- If a contrast material will be used in the MRI exam an intravenous (IV) catheter, also known as an IV line, is inserted into a vein in your hand or arm.
- If a contrast material is used during the examination, it will be injected into the intravenous line (IV) after an initial series of scans. Additional series of images will be taken during or following the injection.
- You are moved into the magnet of the MRI for the procedure.
- MRI exams generally include multiple runs (sequences), some of which may last several minutes.
- When examination is complete, you may be asked to wait until the images are checked in case additional images are needed.
- Your intravenous line is then removed.
- The imaging session lasts between 30 minutes and one hour and the total examination is usually completed within an hour and a half.
- It is important to remain very still throughout the exam. Be sure to let the technologist know if something is uncomfortable, since discomfort increases the chance that you will feel the need to move during the exam.
- If MRI of the breast is being performed for the sole purpose of determining if you have a ruptured breast implant, you will not be given contrast material. If the exam is being performed for any other reason, you will need to have a contrast material injected intravenously.
WHO INTERPRETS RESULTS AND HOW DO I GET THEM?
One of our Radiologic Physicians will analyze the images and send a signed report to your primary care or referring physician, who will share the results with you.
WHAT ABOUT PAYMENT?
Radiology Consultants will file all insurance as a courtesy to you. Depending on the Contractual Agreement with your Insurance Company, you may owe a co-payment and/or deductible at the time of service.
*Please bring your Insurance Card with you *
Please visit our BILLING PAGE for specific information on Insurance, Self-Pay, Motor Vehicle Accident, Cash, Debit or Major Credit Card payment options.
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Please notify the Radiologic Physician and/or Technologist if there is a possibility you are pregnant. Radiation is potentially harmful to a developing baby during pregnancy.