What to Expect: Breast MRI
A woman may need a Breast MRI if an abnormality is found on her mammogram or breast ultrasound.
A mammogram is typically the first screening for breast cancer. If something abnormal is detected, a diagnostic mammogram or breast ultrasound may be ordered. If one of our breast imaging radiologists is still concerned, a Breast MRI can be useful. This diagnostic tool has been proven to have value when other tests are inconclusive.
The Breast MRI Exam
From start to finish, a Breast MRI at Wake Radiology typically takes 30-45 minutes. After following the same safety protocols established for all MRI exams, patients change into a hospital gown. Breast MRIs require IV contrast to get the best possible images. This is administered through a small IV in the arm. The patient then lies face down on a table with her breasts positioned into cup-like indentations. You may wear headphones and will be given a call bell so you can remain in constant contact with our certified breast MRI technologist. Once comfortable, the table is then slowly moved into the MRI machine. Patients are asked to lie still as images are taken. About halfway through the exam, the contrast medicine is provided through the IV and more images are taken.
If you are claustrophobic or anxious about your Breast MRI exam, we can provide medication to make you more comfortable. To receive this medicine, you must have someone stay with you during the entire procedure and be able to drive you home.
Once the exam is complete, one of our breast imaging radiologists will use special computers to analyze the detailed 3D images. Results will be sent to your referring provider to be discussed with you.
Breast MRI vs Mammogram
A Breast MRI should not replace your annual screening mammogram. If you have a normal Breast MRI, we recommend that you continue having your annual mammogram. We believe that a 3D mammogram is the most effective screening tool for breast cancer detection.
|Used For||Screening||Specific abnormality detection|
|Covered by Insurance||Yes||Usually|
A Breast MRI is not an option if you have:
|A Pacemaker, unless it’s a Medtronic Revo or Advisa SureScan pacing system||Residual pacemaker leads|
|A TENS unit or residual wires||A Defibrillator (AICD)|
|Any internal pump device||An inner ear implant|
|A brain aneurysm clip||
Any metal in your eyes
Information to share when scheduling your Breast MRI.
Please let us know if you are using any of these therapies or have any of these situations.
|Pre-menopause||Must schedule between days 5-14 of cycle.|
|Birth Control Medication||Notify us at scheduling.|
|Chemotherapy||Insurance covers MRI before & after completion of therapy only.|
|Radiation Therapy||(XRT) Must wait 6 months after completion date.|
|Lumpectomy||Can be imaged immediately after, before additional therapy.|
|Mammograms||Must have most recent mammogram and report on site on appointment day.|
To learn more about having a Breast MRI at Wake Radiology, visit our Expert Blog page for articles from our breast imaging radiologists.
Did You Know?
Wake Radiology is local and locally owned.