What is Breast MRI?
Breast MRI is a sophisticated technology that
uses a computer, magnetic field and radio-waves instead of x-rays to
produce images of the soft tissues in the body. This noninvasive
procedure helps Diagnostic Imaging Northwest's board-certified
mammography-trained physicians to better evaluate the breast in special
circumstances. When used in conjunction with screening and diagnostic
mammography, it can provide valuable information for the detection and
characterization of breast disease. Breast MRI does not replace
mammography, it is a different imaging technique that provides
Who needs Breast MRI?
Breast MRI is now proven to be more sensitive
than any other modality in detecting invasive breast cancer. MRI is
superior at demonstrating the size and extent of a breast tumor prior
to surgery. In addition, it is beneficial for screening patients at
particularly high risk for breast cancer due to genetic predisposition
or strong family history, diagnosing breast implant rupture, staging
breast cancer, and planning treatment. MRI also plays an important role
in post-surgical and post-radiation follow-up.
What should I expect?
Avoid eating a large meal prior to the exam.
Prepare to arrive 15 minutes before your appointment time. The entire
appointment will take 90 minutes. This exam should be scheduled 7-10
days after the start of your menstrual cycle. Correct timing is
important to minimize false positive findings that can occur due to
hormonal influence on the breast tissue. If you suffer from minor
claustrophobia or anxiety, you may want to ask your physician for a
mild sedative. Do not take the sedative until you have signed your
A Breast MRI does not
require your breasts to be compressed, so you should not experience
discomfort. When you arrive you will be asked to complete paperwork
regarding your history and symptoms. We will escort you into a private
dressing room where you can change into a gown and remove all jewelry,
since these items contain metal, which disturbs MRI signals. A
technologist will position you for the scan. During the exam, you will
lie on your stomach with your arms up over your head and you will enter
the machine head-first.
patients receive an injection of contrast material called gadolinium
during the exam through an intravenous injection. A small intravenous
catheter will be placed in your hand or arm. The injection of contrast
material is necessary if the MRI is being performed for the diagnosis
of breast cancer. It is sometimes not necessary if the sole intent of
the study is to evaluate silicone breast implants. Adverse reactions to
gadolinium are rare. You will be asked to lie very still, relax and
breathe normally. The MRI scan will only take 60 minutes. There are
typically no side effects during or after MRI, so you can resume normal
activities as soon as your exam is over.
is very important that any prior breast films (mammograms, ultrasound
or MRI) be made available to the radiologist for comparison during the
interpretation of your MRI scan. If you have had these at a facility
other than Diagnostic Imaging Northwest, please bring them with you on
the day of your appointment. After the MRI is read, those films will be
returned to the facility where they originated.
When will I receive results?
You should receive results from your doctor within 3-4 days.
Which location offers Breast MRI?
Puyallup Imaging Center offers Breast MRI at this time.