Breast MRI Protocols

Submitted by Medical Health Test Team on October 16, 2012

The breasts are vital organs for a female human. Breast tissue is present in both males and females, but during puberty, the breasts of the female develop and become significant features of the woman’s body. The breasts are used to produce and supply milk to young babies who will be breastfed for the early part of their lives. Breasts also play a function in the visual appeal of a woman and are considered to be important organs for sexual arousal. For women, the breasts are organs that can get infected by various diseases or conditions. Breast cancer is a serious form of breast disease that may be fatal if not diagnosed or treated in time. A typical healthy procedure for a woman is to feel her breasts regularly to make sure that there is no lump or mass that feels abnormal to touch. Any mass or lump felt in the breast should cause concern and should be treated as a reason to go for a breast examination. Furthermore, a person who has undergone breast enhancement surgery may require an MRI scan to make sure that the silicone implants in the breasts have not burst. One method of breast examination is by using an MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine.

The aim of a Breast MRI scan is primarily tumor detection. Any abnormal mass or lesion should show up on an MRI scan of the breasts. This method uses a contrast which is injected into the woman’s body so that any abnormalities show up. A sequence of images is taken with the MRI machine with the first image being taken immediately after contrast injection, that is, a pre-contrast image. As time passes images will be taken every thirty seconds, then every minute and then every two minutes until about nine minutes have passed from the injection of the contrast. In this test, it is essential to avoid any errors that may occur due to missed timing of MRI images. The manufacturer of the scanning machine will usually have a guideline as to the timings between shots. It is also important that the patient lies flat and that the breasts are properly positioned so that the image is not distorted by any positional errors. Any lesions or masses will be discovered in this procedure and a diagnosis about malignancy can be made based on the rate at which the tumor tissue accepts the contrast material.

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