High Definition Breast MRI

Introducing a new tool in the fight against breast cancer – High Definition Breast MRI.

  • 1 in 3 breast cancer patients has undiagnosed cancer in other areas of her breast
  • 1 in 20 breast cancer patients has undiagnosed cancer in both breasts

With High Definition Breast MRI it’s possible to image both breasts in one visit, which is more convenient for you, and helps your doctor arrive at a better diagnosis – faster.

What is Breast MRI 

Breast MRI uses Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to look specifically at the breast. It is a non-invasive procedure that doctors can use to determine what the inside of the breast looks like without having to do surgery or use compression (as in a mammogram).  Each exam produces hundreds of images of the breast, cross-sectional in all three directions (side-to-side, top-to-bottom, front-to-back), which are then read by a Radiologist. No radioactivity is involved, and the technique is believed to have no health hazards in general. The hope is that such non-invasive studies will contribute to our progress in learning how to predict the behavior of tumors, and in selecting proper treatments. Breast MRI is an evolving technology and should not replace standard screening and diagnostic procedures (clinical and self exams, mammogram, fine needle aspiration or biopsy).

Magnetic resonance breast imaging (MRI, MR) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 1991 for use as a supplemental tool, in addition to mammography, to help diagnose breast cancer. Breast MRI is an excellent problem-solving technology. It is often used to investigate breast concerns first detected with mammography, physical exam, or other imaging exams. MRI is also excellent at imaging the augmented breast, including both the breast implant itself and the breast tissue surrounding the implant (abnormalities or signs of breast cancer can sometimes be obscured by the implant on a mammogram). MRI is also useful for staging breast cancer, determining the most appropriate treatment, and for patient follow-up after breast cancer treatment.

Preparing for your visit - Breast MRI

You may be asked to provide a urine sample for a pregnancy test prior to your MRI exam. Because the risks to a fetus are unknown, pregnant women should not have an MRI exam unless the potential benefit from the MRI is determined to outweigh the potential risks.

If you have minor claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces) or anxiety, you may want to ask your physician for a prescription for a mild sedative.

If your physician plans to use a contrast material with your MRI, you may be asked if you have an allergy of any kind such as hay fever, hives, allergic asthma, or allergy to food or drugs. However, the contrast material used for an MRI exam, called gadolinium, does not contain iodine and is less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

The radiologist should also know if you have any serious health problems. Some conditions, such as kidney disease and sickle cell anemia, may prevent you from having an MRI with contrast material.

Prior to your exam, you may continue to take your usual medications, unless you are told otherwise. You may be given a hospital gown to wear during the exam, or you may be allowed to wear your own clothing if it is loose-fitting and has no metal fasteners. Jewelry and other accessories should be left at home if possible, or removed prior to the MRI scan. Metal and electronic objects can interfere with the MRI's magnetic field and are not allowed in the exam room. These items include:

  • Jewelry, watches, credit cards and hearing aids, all of which can be damaged.
  • Pins, hairpins, metal zippers and similar metallic items, which can distort MRI images.
  • Removable dental work.
  • Pens, pocketknives and eyeglasses.
  • In most cases, an MRI exam is safe for patients with metal implants, except for a few types.

Tell the technologist if you have medical or electronic devices in your body, such as:
  • Artificial heart valves.
  • Implanted drug infusion ports.
  • Implanted electronic devices.
  • 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 during MRI. However, a recently placed artificial joint may require the use of another imaging procedure. If there is any question, an x-ray may be taken to detect the presence of any metal objects. Sheet metal workers and others who might have metal objects such as shrapnel in their bodies may also require an x-ray prior to an MRI. Dyes used in tattoos may contain iron and could heat up during MRI, but this is rarely a problem.

People with the following implants cannot be scanned and should not enter the MRI area:

  • Cardiac pacemakers.
  • Defibrillators.
  • A cochlear (ear) implant.