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What is Breast MRI?

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. A breast MRI is used to evaluate a suspicious mass in the breast tissue. This test is non-invasive and does not expose you to any radiation.

During a breast MRI scan, many very thin 2-dimensional pictures are taken and assembled into 3-dimensional pictures by a computer. This allows the doctor to look layer by layer at the breasts and provides greater detail to aid in the diagnostic process. Images are recorded before and after a contrast dye is administered.

Breast MRI is not a replacement for mammography or ultrasound, but rather an additional tool that provides valuable diagnostic information which cannot be gathered using other imaging techniques. MRI produces extremely detailed images of breast tissue, especially in women with dense breasts.

Breast MRI may be used to evaluate women at high risk for breast cancer (e.g. family history), hard-to-assess abnormalities seen on mammography, lumpectomy sites in the years following breast cancer treatments and the conditions of breast implants. It is also recommended after a positive biopsy and before surgery to find any additional tumors in the same or opposite breast or in the lymph nodes.

How do I prepare?

Request an appointment online or call us to book your appointment. Once your appointment is booked, your forms will be available on the patient portal.

Notify our staff if you have any metal, medical, or mechanical devices in your body. This exam may NOT be performed if you have a cardiac pacemaker, defibrillator, cerebral aneurysm clips or cochlear/internal hearing implants. You may be eligible under certain conditions if you have an MRI-conditional pacemaker/defibrillator. Please call 631-444-5544, extension 4340 to verify if your device is MRI compatible.

You must remove all jewelry and any other metallic objects such as hearing aids, jeans with metal zippers, body piercings and removable dental work. Wearing a sweat suit with no metal may prevent you from having to change into a gown.

Additional prep for MRI with I.V. contrast

If you have impaired kidney function, are diabetic or are 60 years of age or older, we will perform an i-STAT creatinine level at the time of your exam to assess your kidney function. It is important to inform us if you are taking the medication hydroxyurea when making your appointment. Keep hydrated before and after your exam.

Bring with you to your appointment:

  • Prescription from your doctor.
  • Current insurance card.
  • Authorization number from your insurance carrier.
  • Any forms you completed at home.
  • Credit card or cash for your insurance co-pay.
  • Any relevant imaging studies that you have from another facility, including the reports. We like to compare the MRI with any previous studies to assist in the diagnostic process.
  • Picture identification.
  • What do I do when I arrive?

    Present your prescription, insurance card and completed forms at the front desk. If any additional forms are required, they will be given to you at this time.

    Be sure to inform the receptionist and technologist if you:

  • Have allergies.
  • Have any compromised kidney function or a history of kidney disease.
  • Are pregnant, think you may be pregnant or are breast feeding.
  • Are currently taking any medications.
  • Have any metal or implanted medical device in your body.
  • Have hearing aids
  • Have diabetes.
  • Have any relevant studies from another facility.
  • Plan to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment.

    What happens during the test?

    The MRI technologist will confirm that you are free of all metal both inside and outside your body and review your medical history.

    You will then be brought into the MRI room and asked to lie face down on a comfortable, padded breast coil and head rest. The coil maximizes the administration and recording of the radio frequency bursts and the magnetic fields to ensure the clearest possible images.

    The scanning table you are lying on will be moved into the center of the magnet and the test will begin. The machine never touches you. Be sure to remain as still as possible to ensure the best possible images. Although the MRI technologist cannot stay in the room with you during the scan, he or she will be able to talk to you from outside the room through an intercom.

    Once all of the images have been recorded, the scanning table will move out of the MRI machine and the technologist will return to assist you off the table.

    The MRI scan can take up to 30 minutes.

    MRI with I.V. contrast

    If you have impaired kidney function, are diabetic or are 60 years of age or older, we will perform an i-STAT creatinine level at the time of your exam to assess your kidney function. It is important to inform us if you are taking the medication hydroxyurea when making your appointment. Keep hydrated before and after your exam.

    After reviewing your medical history, the nurse or technologist will place the intravenous needle/catheter into a vein in your arm or hand. Then at a specific time in the exam, contrast will be injected into your I.V.

    The first set of images is taken without contrast. Then the dye will be administered and additional images will be taken.

    For MRI with I.V. sedation, click here.

    What happens after the test?

    One of our board certified radiologists interprets your images, compares them to any previous studies and dictates a report which is transcribed, proofread and signed. The report is then faxed and mailed to your referring doctor within one or two days. Your doctor will read the report and review the findings with you.

    All of your signed reports and images are available to your referring doctor on our physician's web portal, and available to you on the patient web portal.