Breast MRI can be a useful tool for screening women at a higher risk for breast cancer. Breast MRI is also used in breast cancer diagnosis and staging, and for some women with hard-to-find breast cancers.
MRI does not use ionizing radiation. Instead, it used magnetism and radio waves to produce remarkably clear images of breast tissue. Our Women’s Imaging MRI team at ZP has decades of experience with breast MRI and are early pioneers in this technique. Our cutting-edge MRI systems provide the clearest, most detailed images for our Breast Imaging experts to make a diagnosis.
Learn About the Different Types of MRI Exams
A breast MRI is intended to be used alongside other imaging studies, such as mammography and breast ultrasound, for a more detailed evaluation. It is performed to assess the extent of breast cancer, and to screen for breast cancer in women thought to have a high risk of the disease.
Your health care provider may recommend a breast MRI if:
- You have been diagnosed with breast cancer and your physician needs to determine the extent of the cancer
- You're at high risk of breast cancer, defined as a lifetime risk of 20% or greater, as calculated by risk tools that account for your family history and other risk factors
- You have a strong family history of breast cancer
- You have dense breast tissue and mammograms didn't detect a prior breast cancer
- You have a suspected leak or rupture of a breast implant
- You have a history of precancerous breast changes
- You have a hereditary breast cancer gene change, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2
- You had radiation treatments to your chest area before age 30
How is Breast MRI performed?
During a Breast MRI, a dye (contrast agent) may be injected through an intravenous (IV) line in your arm to enhance the tissues or blood vessels on the MRI pictures. You will lie face down on a comfortable, padded scanning table. Your breasts fit into cushioned openings in the table, which contains coils that detect magnetic signals from the MRI machine. The table then slowly slides into the opening of the MRI machine. The images are then recorded on a computer. During the test, the technologist monitors you from another room. You can speak to the technologist through a microphone. You'll be instructed to breathe normally but to lie as still as possible. The test usually takes about 30 minutes.