Safe and non-invasive, a breast MRI is a powerful imaging test used to detect cancer and other abnormalities in your breast tissue. Learn about the science, the benefits, and the experience.
What is a Breast MRI?
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an advanced diagnostic tool for creating a detailed image of your breast. A combination of a strong magnetic field plus radio waves capture hundreds of images of your breast tissue at one time. All these images are then combined to form one cohesive 3D image of the breast.
Due to its increased sensitivity and diagnostic power, breast MRI is often used to supplement mammography and breast ultrasounds in cases when further testing is needed (or to assess whether or not breast implants may have ruptured). Breast MRI might also be used when patients fall into a high-risk category for breast cancer because of lifestyle factors, or family history. Whatever the reason, your physician will be able to guide you to whether or not a breast MRI is the right choice for you.
What should I expect from this scan?
MRIs are imaging machines that do not use radiation, which means the scans are perfectly safe and 100% non-invasive.
Since MRI technology relies on the use of magnets, we will provide you a private locker space and ask that you remove all jewelry and metal (including that from your clothing) before your test. In most cases, contrast dye will also be used, given intravenously.
Breast MRI imaging relies on a patient lying face down on the exam table and remaining very still during the 45-minute procedure. We provide headphones, or earplugs, to help you relax and block out noises coming from the machine. The test itself does not cause discomfort, but for those who have trouble staying still, are sensitive to noise, or are prone to claustrophobia—talk with your doctor about possible anti-anxiety medications, which can help the procedure go more smoothly.
Throughout the exam, our technologists will be standing by to answer your questions or assist with anything that could help make you feel more calm and comfortable—just let us know.
After your breast MRI, we’ll help you get out of the machine, gather your belongings, and get you on your way.
Our radiologists will immediately review and send your images over to your doctor’s office, where your physician will be able to read the scans, and get in touch with you directly about the results.