MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging and is a medical imaging exam that uses a powerful magnet, radio waves and computer processing to produce detailed images of organs, soft tissues, bone and other internal body structures.
A breast MRI is used to look at dense breast tissue, scar tissue at a lumpectomy site and any breast abnormalities. It is also helpful in determining if breast disease has spread and in evaluating breast implants for leakage or rupture. In special situations, MRI is also used as a screening tool for women with calculated increased risk for developing breast cancer in their lifetime, or for those who are genetically predisposed carrying the breast cancer genes BRCA1 and 2.
Your Breast MRI
When you have an imaging exam at Diagnostic Imaging Northwest you can expect skilled, personal care every step of the way. Before your exam, an MRI technologist will review your medical and allergy history and answer any questions you may have. Your comfort during the MRI is our top priority, so a technologist will be available throughout your exam. Most patients find that MRI of the breast is a painless exam.
The Day of Your Breast MRI Exam
Prior to your exam, our staff will inform you of any preparation instructions and your appointment check-in time. Your Breast MRI will take around 45 minutes, but please allow 1-1/2 hours to complete the entire registration and exam process.
For your safety, you will be asked to change into a gown to avoid possible interference from any metal in your clothing. A secure locker is provided to store your personal items such as jewelry, watches, and keys.
During your exam, it is normal to hear humming or thumping sounds. Our staff will make every effort to make you comfortable and will provide earplugs, headphones or music to help block much of the sound.
After the initial series of images has been taken, it is likely that a contrast fluid will be given intravenously through a small IV catheter. The contrast enhances possible abnormalities, allowing the Radiologist to see a tumor more clearly. Additional images will be taken following the IV contrast.
Your Breast MRI Results
One of our board-certified radiologists who specializes in breast imaging will interpret your exam. A final report will be completed within 24-48 hours and sent to your referring healthcare provider who will then explain the results to you and answer any follow-up questions you may have. We work closely with your healthcare provider to help facilitate and expedite any further care that may be needed.