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Breast MRI

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the breast is a useful diagnostic tool for:

  • Detection and characterization of breast disease
  • Assessment of local extent of disease
  • Evaluation of treatment response
  • Guidance for biopsy and localization
  • Assessing abnormal areas seen on a mammogram
  • Evaluating extremely dense breast tissue
  • Evaluating breast implants for leaks or ruptures

MRI can also be used to screen certain women, such as young women at high risk for breast cancer. As with a breast ultrasound, MRI is a supplement to mammography and not a replacement for it.

Breast MRI should be taken of both breasts except for women with a history of mastectomy or when the MRI is being performed specifically to further evaluate or follow findings in one breast. MRI findings should be correlated with clinical history, physical examination results, and the results of mammography and any other prior breast imaging. Your doctor can review these pictures on a monitor, film or a CD.

What to Expect During Your Breast MRI

During an MRI of the breast, you lie on your stomach on the exam table. Your breast is placed into a depression or hole in the table, which contains coils that detect the magnetic signal. The table is moved into a tube-like machine that contains the magnet. After an initial series of images are taken, you may be given a nonradioactive contrast agent intravenously (by injection into a vein). Additional images are then taken. The entire imaging session takes about one hour.

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