Breast MRI

Cross-sectional MRI view of the breasts

Breast MRI uses Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to look specifically at the breast.

It is a non-invasive procedure that doctors can use to determine what the inside of the breast looks like without having to do surgery or flatten the breast (as in a mammogram).

Each exam produces hundreds of images of the breast, cross-sectional in all three directions (side-to-side, top-to-bottom, front-to-back), which are then read by a radiologist. No radiation is involved, and the technique is believed to have no health hazards in general.

The hope is that such non-invasive studies will contribute to our progress in learning how to predict the behavior of tumors and in selecting proper treatments. Breast MRI is an evolving technology and should not replace standard screening and diagnostic procedures (clinical and self exams, mammogram, fine needle aspiration or biopsy). This procedure can be helpful for getting a second opinion, or another look at the breast.

What to Expect

What should I expect during the exam?

Due to the sophisticated technology utilized at Sand Lake Imaging, the exam typically takes 10-15 minutes rather than the standard 30-45 minutes. First, patients must change into a hospital gown. Then, an IV is inserted into the arm. The patient will lie face down on a table, where the breasts are positioned into cup-like indentations on the table (breast coil). The table is then moved into the MRI machine. The patient will need to lie very still as images are taken.

After the exam is complete, the images will be analyzed and interpreted by our radiologists. The results will not be available immediately following the exam. The physician will be contacted with the results.


How to Prepare

Please notify the scheduler if you have a pacemaker, stents, aneurysm coils or clips, metal foreign bodies, insulin pumps, pain pumps, bone or neuro stimulators. The scheduling team will inform you of any prep that is necessary. If you are claustrophobic or anxious about your MRI exam, please notify the scheduler that you would like to request sedation. Nothing to eat for 4 hours prior to arrival and you will need to bring a driver. If you are having a breast MRI, it should be scheduled between day 5 and 15 of your menstruation cycle. You will be required to remove all jewelry and change into a gown for your MRI. If you have hearing aids, you will be asked to remove them before your procedure. Please bring your insurance cards, photo ID and your doctor’s order. If you are a new patient, please bring any previous images or reports that may be pertinent to your exam.