A breast MRI is a noninvasive test that utilizes a dedicated breast coil to evaluate the enhancement pattern of both breasts after the administration of gadolinium contrast. Special software is also utilized at our facility to assist in lesion enhancement characterization. Most breast cancers are vascular and enhance more than the background tissue.
The patient will fill out a questionnaire. IV access will be obtained. The patient will lay on their stomach with both breast positioned in the breast coil. Multiple images will be obtained at specific times to determine enhancement characterization of areas in the breast. The exam takes about 30-40 minutes to complete. It is important that women be imaged day 7-10 of their menstrual cycle to minimize the background enhancement of the breast.
Breast MRI guided biopsy can also be performed for suspicious areas that are not well visualized on mammogram or by ultrasound. Many times a second look ultrasound or mammogram will be performed first.
Breast MRI can result in false positive results, so it is important to utilize other imaging techniques such as mammogram and ultrasound as well a physical exam. There are certain lesions that can be better characterized using mammogram and ultrasound. Many times, all of the modalities are needed.
ACR and ACS guidelines:
Screening: Women who meet at least one of the following conditions: (ACS screening guidelines)
Most high risk screening women should begin getting annual breast MRI and mammograms at the age of 30, unless they and their doctor think it’s better to begin at a different age.
If a patient is being referred for breast MRI, it is important to have all of the previous mammograms, ultrasound, breast MRI imaging etc. and reports available for the radiologist to review at the time the breast MRI is performed. This is to enable the radiologist to make the most accurate interpretation. Otherwise, there may be a delay in the reading until all pertinent outside information is available.
Breast MRI results are interpreted by a radiologist who is a physician trained to supervise and interpret radiological examinations. The radiologist will analyze all the images taken during your exam and send a signed report to the ordering physician this will take 24 to 48 hours, additional copies can be sent upon request to primary care physicians or specialists. The ordering physician or your primary care physician will go over the results with you.