Breast MRI is a valuable technique to help identify cancer in high-risk patients.
It can also determine the extent of a known cancer in the breast. It does not use x-rays and is usually performed in addition to, rather than instead of, mammography and ultrasound.
How should I prepare for a breast MRI?
There is no specific preparation for a breast MRI, however your appointment should be scheduled for a certain time of the menstrual cycle in premenopausal women (usually between days 7 and 14). You can take any usual medications, however if you are on Hormone Replacement Therapy you must cease this 4 to 6 weeks before your examination.
Please bring any previous imaging reports to your appointment.
On the day of your appointment
Epworth Medical Imaging's friendly staff will greet you on arrival and take your referral form. You will be asked to complete an MRI questionnaire to ensure that you are safe to enter the MRI scanner.
You will be collected from reception and asked to change into a gown.
The MRI radiographer will explain what you can expect during the examination. You will be given a 'buzzer' to squeeze if you experience any discomfort. It is important to remain as still as possible during the scanning process to avoid image blurring. Between scans, the radiographer will communicate with you to ensure that you are comfortable and to update you on the examination's progress.
You will be asked to lie on your stomach on a movable MRI table with your arms above your head. Your breasts will be placed into a breast coil, which is similar to a special padded bra.
Mild compression (pressure) is applied to your breasts to keep them from moving and to prevent image blurring. This is not painful and your breasts will be completely covered throughout the examination.
You may require a contrast agent (dye) injection into the vein on the inside of your elbow or on the back of your hand. Contrast improves breast tissue visibility on the images and is usually excreted by the body within an hour of injection.
As with any medication or injection, there is a small chance of an allergic reaction, so please inform our staff if you have previously reacted to contrast solution. You will be required to stay in the waiting area for 15 minutes after your scan for monitoring.
After your examination, please report to reception where you will be presented with hard copy films and a CD of images. The radiologist will produce a report that will be sent directly to your GP or specialist. You should contact your referring doctor to discuss the results.