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Breast MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves, and a computer to produce detailed pictures of the structures within the breast. MRI of the breast offers valuable information about many breast conditions that cannot be obtained by other types of exams such as mammography and ultrasound.

Primarily used as a supplemental tool, breast MRI has many important uses including:

  • Screening women at high risk for developing breast cancer
  • Evaluating abnormalities seen on a mammogram
  • Determining the extent of cancer after a new breast cancer diagnosis
  • Assessing lumpectomy sites after breast cancer treatment
  • Monitoring the effectiveness of chemotherapy for patients receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy
  • Evaluating breast implants, including whether silicone breast implants have ruptured

Preparing For Your Exam

In addition to our general preparation instructions, you will be asked to change into a gown prior to your breast MRI.

Due to the powerful magnets that the MRI machine uses, it is important to remove the following items before entering the machine:

  • Jewelry
  • Watches
  • Glasses
  • Hairpins
  • Hearing Aids
  • Bras with Underwire
  • Dentures

Before your MRI, please discuss with your doctor if you have any of the following, as the magnetic field may cause interference:

  • Defibrillator
  • Pacemaker
  • Artificial heart valves
  • Metal clips
  • Cochlear implants
  • Metal prostheses
  • Tattoos
  • Any other metal in the body

Please continue to take all of your prescribed medications. Bring a list of your medications to your appointment that includes the name of the medication, the dose, and the dose frequency.

For additional information, please visit RadiologyInfo.org.

During Your Exam

The MRI machine is a long, tube-like structure. During the procedure, you will lie down for the duration of the test. You will be able to hear the voice of the technologist who is conducting the MRI from an attached room. You will be able to speak to him/her via a microphone located within the MRI machine. You will also hear tapping during the test.

After Your Exam

Once your MRI is complete, a radiologist will study the images and share the results with your doctor. Your doctor will then discuss the findings with you at your next appointment. You will not receive results at the time of the MRI.