Breast MRI

At Baptist M&S Imaging, we provide you with the latest technology in breast imaging. Using High Resolution Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), we are able to detect abnormalities in the breast with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity.  Breast MRI is the most accurate imaging modality for detecting breast cancer and is very effective for assessing the extent of local disease in patients who are pending surgery for recently diagnosed breast cancer.  Our most common referrals for breast MRI are for preoperative breast cancer imaging staging, assessing response to preoperative chemotherapy, screening patients who at high risk for breast cancer due to family history or other genetic risk factors, and as an additional diagnostic tool for specific breast issues that cannot be completely answered by diagnostic mammogram, ultrasound or needle biopsy.

MRI is non-invasive, and does not use compression (which is used in mammograms). Taking hundreds of images of the breast, in multiple sequences, all images are combined to provide a three dimensional image of the breasts. This 3-dimensional view is a superior diagnostic tool.

performing a breast MRI

Breast MRI is performed without radiation.  The vast majority of breast MRIs do require the intravenous injection of gadolinium contrast agents, which are approved by the FDA for breast MRI.   The use of intravenous contrast allows the radiologist to detect lesions in the breast which “enhance” or take up the contrast agent due to the increased vascularity of most breast cancers.   Breast cancers typically enhance more strongly than normal background breast tissue and the radiologist is able to detect breast cancers because of this effect.

For patients with silicone breast implants, breast MRI is also very accurate in the assessment of suspected implant ruptures.

Our breast radiologists are highly trained and very experienced in the interpretation of breast MRIs and utilize the latest in computer assisted software.  Our breast radiologists interpret every breast MRI using DynaCAD (Invivo Corporation) software to objectively analyze the enhancement patterns of the breasts, which helps to differentiate benign breast tissue from breast cancer.

We also perform MRI guided needle biopsies when indicated.  However, the vast majority of breast lesions that we detect on MRI that require needle biopsies can be biopsied with a targeted MRI-directed “second-look” ultrasound guided needle biopsy.   Please refer to our breast biopsy section on our website for additional information.

Before your appointment:

  • Some patients maybe asked for a urine sample for a pregnancy test. As with most imaging tests, pregnant women and their doctors should discuss the risk of having the test while they are pregnant.
  • Speak with your doctor if you have a fear of enclosed spaces (claustrophobia). Your physician may prescribe a mild sedative.
  • Always discuss allergies with your doctor, especially if your MRI will include a contrast dye. The contrast material used in the MRI does not contain iodine, and it is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction, but notify your physician if you have allergies to food or drugs, hay fever, allergic asthma, or get hives.
  • 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.
  • As with all imaging tests please leave jewelry at home. Metal items and electronics are not allowed in the exam room because they interfere with the magnetic fields of the MRI.

Please do not bring:

  • 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.

Please consult with your physician for alternatives.