Information on Duration and Procedure To Conduct a Breast MRI Exam

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Breast MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging or breast MRI is done to test the lesions in the breast and check if they are malignant or benign. If breast MRI imaging is done then the patient will not have to get several breast biopsies. However, you must remember that MRI cannot check for the spots of calcium, which are known as microcalcifications that can cause cancers and are detected through mammogram.

If a MRI is done by following all the guidelines then it can be very safe. A patient who has undergone heart surgery in the past, and has a medical device fitted in, can also get an MRI done. You can speak with your doctor and check if the medical device that you have is MRI compatible. If not, your doctor will provide you with another suitable option.

What you need to tell your doctor

Apart from telling him about any heart surgery and heart device that you have, you also need to tell him if you are pregnant, cannot lie on your back for a long duration of time, weigh more than 300 pounds, or, if you are claustrophobic.

Duration of Test

While the MRI procedure will take anywhere between forty-five minutes to an hour, the entire process might take more than an hour.

Before Test

You need to leave personal items like jewellery, and credit cards with magnetic strips at home. If you have hearing aids, then you will need to remove it.

Before the exam

The health care professional will ask you to slip into a hospital gown. Once the scanning begins, the equipment will make a muffled thumping noise. But you don’t need to worry about any unusual experience. In some MRI tests, the patient is injected with a contrast material to help the technologist identify certain parts of the body/breast.

The procedure for Breast MRI

Most MRI scans are an outpatient procedure. You will be asked to lie down on your stomach on an examination table and your breasts will be hanging down into cushioned openings. These openings are surrounded by a breast coil. This coil receives the signals that work with the MRI device to take the images. Bolsters and straps will be used to make you more comfortable and remain still while the images are being taken. You must tell the healthcare professional if you are feeling uncomfortable.

After exam

In most cases, you can resume daily activities and can eat your usual diet. Your doctor will discuss the results of the test with you.