Traditionally, an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) produces images of organs and soft tissue throughout the body using magnetic fields and radiofrequency waves. It occasionally requires an intravenous injection of contrast medium into a vein, to create clearer images.
It is now becoming a well-established imaging tool for the breast, in addition to mammography and breast ultrasound.
It may be helpful for patients who have;
• a high risk of breast cancer or
• newly diagnosed breast cancer or
• unresolved suspicious areas on other imaging or
• suspected rupture of breast implants or
• cancer in axillary lymph nodes, with an unknown primary tumour.
Please advise us beforehand
If you have any metal implants of any kind, eg joint replacements.
If you have a pacemaker or neurostimulator implanted.
If you have worked with metal.
If you have renal impairment.
If you have significant claustrophobia.
If you are or may be pregnant.
If you have had any reaction to a contrast injection given for a previous MRI scan.
We will ask you to complete a questionnaire before the examination, and sign a consent to the contrast injection if it is required for your examination.
Refer to your local practice for specific preparation
Allergic reactions to contrast material can occur but significant reactions are rare, and generally respond to adrenaline. Our staff members are equipped and trained to treat contrast reactions. Some scans create a slight sensation of heating. There are no adverse effects to the magnetic fields or radio waves used to generate the images.
What happens during the procedure
You will lay face-down for about 40 minutes in an MRI unit. An intravenous injection of intravenous gadolinium is given to highlight blood vessels. Analysis of images can sometimes be complex, and usually 2 radiologists report the studies.
During the scan, the breast is constrained but not compressed as it is in mammography. However, it is important that you remain quite still.
How long does it take?
A breast MRI takes approx 40-50 minutes.
After your examination
There are no restrictions after having a breast MRI.