MRI is a test that creates detailed images of organs, bones, and other structures inside your body. An MRI uses large magnets and a computer to make the images. It does not use radiation.
An MRI scanner is a large machine with a tunnel. You lie on a table that slides in and out of the tunnel. For a breast MRI, a woman lies face down with her breasts positioned through holes in a table.
A breast MRI is often done with contrast dye. The dye is injected into a vein in the arm before or during the procedure. The dye can help create clearer images.
Breast MRI is most often used to check for breast cancer. Some common uses for breast MRI include:
The above reasons that are not female-specific also apply to men who have breast cancer symptoms.
The American Cancer Society advises breast MRI and a mammogram for some women at high risk of breast cancer. This includes:
Your healthcare provider may have other reasons to advise breast MRI.
All procedures have some risks. The risks of this procedure may include:
Some people shouldn’t have an MRI. This can include:
Your risks may vary depending on your general health and other factors. Make sure your healthcare provider knows all your medical conditions. Ask your healthcare provider which risks apply most to you.
Make a list of questions you have about the procedure. Be sure to discuss these questions and any concerns with your healthcare provider prior to the procedure. Consider bringing a family member or trusted friend to the medical appointment to help you remember your questions and concerns.
Your healthcare provider will explain the procedure to you. Ask him or her any questions you have. You may be asked to sign a consent form that gives permission to do the procedure. Read the form carefully. Ask questions if anything is not clear.
Tell the healthcare provider if you are:
Metal in the body can be dangerous during an MRI. Also tell the healthcare provider if you:
Follow any other instructions your healthcare provider gives you.
You may have your procedure as an outpatient. This means you go home the same day. Or it may be done as part of a longer stay in the hospital. The way the procedure is done may vary. It depends on your condition and your healthcare provider's methods. In most cases, the breast MRI will follow this process:
Get up slowly from the scanner table. This will help prevent dizziness. If you took sedatives for the procedure, you will need to rest until the sedatives wear off. You will need to have someone drive you home. Your healthcare provider will talk with you about the results in a follow-up visit.
If contrast dye was used during your procedure, you may be watched for any side effects or reactions to the dye. These may include itching, swelling, rash, or trouble breathing. If you are nursing, do not breastfeed for 36 to 48 hours after a breast MRI with contrast dye.
Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these:
Your healthcare provider may give you other instructions after the procedure.
Before you agree to the test or the procedure make sure you know: