MRI of the Breast & Guided Breast Biopsy
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive, usually painless test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. MRI uses a magnetic field and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and other internal body structures.
What are the Advantages?
Detailed MRI images allow physicians to better evaluate parts of the body and certain diseases. MRI of the breast offers valuable information about conditions that cannot be obtained by mammography or ultrasound. You must have a mammogram within 6 months prior to your MRI, unless it is for evaluation of breast implant rupture only.
Ultrasound of the Breast
Ultrasound is used to investigate an abnormality detected by mammography or during a physician-performed breast exam. It can quickly determine whether a lump is a cyst (sac containing fluid) or a dense mass. Ultrasound scans are pictures created from sound waves and require no radiation. High-frequency transducers are used to examine breast tissue.
Before the Procedure
- You may be asked to wear a gown.
- Some MRIs may require an IV injection of contrast.
- Women should always tell their physician/technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.
- If you have claustrophobia or anxiety, you may want to ask your doctor for a prescription sedative. If you take one, you will need someone to drive you home.
- Jewelry and other accessories should be left at home.
- Bring all prior mammograms, breast ultrasounds and breast MRIs performed at a non-MSHA facility.
In most cases, MRI is safe for patients with metal implants. However, people with internal defibrillators, cochlear implants or aneurysm clamps cannot be scanned and should not enter the MRI area. Tell the technologist if you have one of these devices:
Artificial heart valves
Implanted drug infusion ports
Intrauterine device (IUD)
Implanted electronic device, including a pacemaker
Artificial limbs or metallic joint prostheses
Implanted nerve stimulators
Metal pins, screws, plates or surgical staples
In general, metal objects used in orthopedic surgery pose no risk. However, a recently placed artificial joint may require a different imaging procedure. If there is any question, an X-ray may be taken to detect metal objects.
For an MRI of the breast, you will lie face down with your breasts hanging into cushioned openings surrounded by a coil. If contrast material is used, it will be injected into the IV line after a few scans. Additional images will be taken after the injection. When the exam is done, you may be asked to wait until the technologist checks the images in case more are needed. The session lasts 30 minutes to an hour and the total exam is usually completed in an hour and a half. You may need to remain still, change positions or hold your breath.
After the Procedure
A radiologist, a physician trained to supervise and interpret radiology exams, will analyze the images and send a signed report to your primary care or referring physician, who will share the results with you.