What is breast MRI?
MRI is a noninvasive diagnostic tool used to visualize normal and abnormal anatomy. This technology uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce computer-generated images of internal body structures including organs, soft tissues and bones.
MRI does not use ionizing radiation (X-rays). Breast MRI produces hundreds of cross-sectional
images of the breasts as well as three-dimensional images to be viewed and studied by the radiologist.
Does breast MRI replace mammograms?
Absolutely not. Breast MRI has emerged as a valuable technique in the identification of breast diseases, but does not replace other screening and diagnostic procedures such as mammograms and ultrasounds. Of course, clinical examinations and breast self examination are also important.
For patients with breast implants, MRI is useful in examining the implants as well as the surrounding breast tissue.
Should I have a breast MRI?
Nationally-recognized breast centers currently perform breast MRI for various reasons including:
• Diagnosis of breast implant rupture
• Surgical planning
• Staging of breast cancer and treatment planning
• Post-surgery and post-radiation follow up
• Monitoring of high-risk patients
• Evaluating questions raised on mammograms or ultrasounds
How is the procedure performed?
You will lie on your stomach on the examination table with your breasts placed in openings so they hang down from your chest. You will receive a contrast medium, called gadolinium, intravenously (IV) during the MRI. The technologist will place an IV in your arm or hand before your scan to administer the contrast. The contrast medium will highlight the blood flow to your breast tissues.
The examination will take approximately 40 minutes. The scanner makes a loud knocking noise, but you should not feel any discomfort. It will be extremely important that you stay absolutely still during the examination and the technologist will help you find a comfortable position that will
allow you to do that.
What happens after the MRI?
Your breast MRI will be thoroughly reviewed utilizing the latest in computer-aided display technology and will be correlated with your other breast imaging studies including
mammography and ultrasound.
Radiologists who specialize in the interpretation of breast MRI images will provide your referring physicians with a written report indicating their findings to help formulate your treatment plan.
How can I receive more information about breast MRI services?
For more information about breast MRI at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, please call 617-243-6069.