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Breast MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast is an imaging test that uses strong magnets and radio waves to form pictures of the inside of the breast. It also creates images of the tissues that surround the breast. Breast MRI is used to check for problems, such as a leaking breast implant or a suspicious lump or mass. It can also be used to help determine if breast cancer is present and aid in diagnosis and management. The test takes 30 to 60 minutes.

Before Your Test

Woman is lying face down on MRI table. Table is ready to go into MRI tube. Healthcare provider is standing beside woman.
During a breast MRI, you lie face down on a platform that slides into a tubelike machine called a scanner.

  • Breast MRI uses strong magnets, so you’ll be asked to remove your watch, jewelry, and all other metal objects.

  • You may be asked to remove your makeup, which may contain some metal.

 

The magnet used in breast MRI can cause metal objects in your body to move. You may be asked if you:

  • Have had stereotactic breast biopsy or previous surgery

  • Have a pacemaker

  • Have an artificial body part (prosthesis)

  • Have metal rods, screws, plates, or splinters in your body

  • Wear a medicated adhesive patch

  • Have tattoos

Your technologist will also ask you whether:

  • You’re pregnant or think you may be pregnant.

  • You’re claustrophobic (afraid of confined spaces).

During Your Test

  • You may be asked to wear a hospital gown.

  • You may be given earplugs to wear if you desire.

  • You may be injected with contrast (a special dye that makes the MRI image sharp).

  • You’ll lie on a platform that slides into a tubelike machine called a scanner. You’ll be on your stomach with your breasts placed through openings in the platform.

  • Remain as still as you can while the camera takes the pictures. This will ensure the best images.

After Your Test

  • You can get back to normal activities right away.

  • If you were given contrast, it will pass naturally through your body within a day.

  • Drink lots of water so that the dye passes quickly out of your body.

Getting Your Results

Your health care provider will discuss the test results with you during a follow-up appointment or over the phone.

Online Medical Reviewer: Freeborn, Donna, PhD, CNM, FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 12/11/2013
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