Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast is an imaging test that uses strong magnets and radio waves to form pictures of the inside of the breast. It also creates images of the tissues that surround the breast. Breast MRI is used to check for problems, such as a leaking breast implant or a suspicious lump or mass. It can also be used to help determine if breast cancer is present and diagnose it. The test takes 30-60 minutes.
Before Your Test
During a breast MRI, you lie face down on a platform that slides into a tubelike machine called a scanner.
- Breast MRI uses strong magnets, so you'll be asked to remove your watch, jewelry, and all other metal objects.
- You may be asked to remove your makeup, which may contain some metal.
The magnet used in breast MRI can cause metal objects in your body to move. You may be asked if you:
- Have had stereotactic breast biopsy or previous surgery.
- Have a pacemaker.
- Have an artificial body part (prosthesis).
- Have metal rods, screws, plates, or splinters in your body.
- Wear a medicated adhesive patch.
- Have tattoos.
Your technologist will also ask you whether:
- You're pregnant or think you may be pregnant.
- You're claustrophobic (afraid of confined spaces).
During Your Test
- You may be asked to wear a hospital gown.
- You may be injected with contrast (a special dye that makes the MRI image sharp).
- You'll lie on a platform that slides into a tubelike machine called a scanner. You'll be on your stomach with your breasts placed through openings in the platform.
- Remain as still as you can while the camera takes the pictures. This will ensure the best images.
After Your Test
- You can get back to normal activities right away.
- If you were given contrast, it will pass naturally through your body within a day.
- Drink lots of water so that the dye passes quickly out of your body.
Getting Your Results
Your doctor will discuss the test results with you during a follow-up appointment or over the phone.