(Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Breast)
Reasons for Test
- Evaluate breast abnormalities seen on mammography
- Identify breast abnormalities in women (and in some cases, men) with dense breast tissue, implants, or scar tissue
- Examine breast implants
- Examine scar tissue
- Evaluate the progress of breast cancer treatment
- Identify cysts or enlarged breast ducts
- Examine lymph nodes near the breast
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What to Expect
Prior to test
- Try to schedule the test between days 5 and 15 of your menstrual cycle. This is a time when the breast tissue is less dense.
If your doctor prescribes a sedative:
- Arrange for a ride home.
- Take the sedative 1-2 hours before the exam, or as directed.
You will be asked about the following:
- Medical and surgical history
- Other conditions that you may have—If your MRI involves contrast material, your doctor will ask about the health of your kidneys. There is a risk of complications in people who have kidney disease and receive contrast material.
You will be asked if you have something in your body that would interfere with or make it so you cannot have an MRI, such as:
- Pacemaker or implantable defibrillator
- Ear implant
- Metal fragments in your eyes or in any other part of your body (Tell your doctor if your work involves metal filings or particles.)
- Implanted port device
- Metal plate, pins, screws, or surgical staples
- Metal clips from aneurysm repair
- Retained bullets
- Any other large metal objects in your body (Tooth fillings and braces are usually fine.)
- You will remove any metal objects (such as jewelry, hearing aids, glasses).
- An x-ray may be taken to see if there are any metal objects in your body.
- Given earplugs or headphones to wear (The MRI machine makes a loud banging noise.)
- Allowed to have a family member or friend with you during the test
Description of the Test
After the Test
- If you took a sedative, do not drive, operate machinery, or make important decisions until the sedative wears off completely.
- If you are breastfeeding and receive a contrast dye, you and your doctor should discuss when you should start breastfeeding again. Information available has not found any ill effects to a baby if a mother has had contrast dye.
How Long Will It Take?
Will It Hurt?
Call Your Doctor
- Worsening of your symptoms
- Any allergic or abnormal symptoms, like a rash or swelling if you were injected with contrast dye
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org
National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca
National Cancer Institute of Canada http://www.ncic.cancer.ca
Breast MRI. University of California at San Francisco website. Available at: http://www.radiology.ucsf.edu/patient-care/services/breast-mri. Accessed May 28, 2015.
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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)—breast. Radiological Society of North America Radiology Info website. Available at: http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=breastmr. Updated July 2, 2014. Accessed May 28, 2015.
Shinil K, Shah BS, Greatrex KV. Current role of magnetic resonance imaging in breast imaging: A primer for the primary care physician. J Am Board Fam Med. 2005;18(6):478-490.
9/10/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: US Food and Drug Administration. New warnings required on use of gadolinium-based contrast agents. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm225286.htm. Updated April 19, 2013. Accessed May 28, 2015.
5/17/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Patenaude Y, Pugash D, Lim K, et al. The use of magnetic resonance imaging in the obstetric patient. J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2014;36(4):349-355.
- Reviewer: Andrea Chisholm, MD
- Review Date: 05/2015 -
- Update Date: 05/17/2014 -