Breast MRI helps to detect small lesions sometimes missed by mammography-- without using radiation or compressing the breasts. MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves to take very clear pictures of soft tissues, so that it can be extremely useful in looking at breast tissue. However, it should not be used routinely to look for breast cancer because it tends to have a high rate of “false positives.” That is, MRI finds lesions that often turn out not to be cancerous. It is also much more expensive than mammography or ultrasound.
MRI’s sensitivity makes it a wonderful tool for certain groups of women, but it should be used selectively so that it doesn’t create unnecessary worry or needless breast biopsies for women who aren’t at high risk.
Appropriate candidates for this test include women with:
• Two or more close (first or second degree) relatives with breast or ovarian cancer.
• Carriers of BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations.
• Past radiation to the chest.
• Suspected rupture of breast implants.
• Selected cases of known breast cancer.
• Selected cases of inconclusive mammography or ultrasound findings.
• Cancer in a lymph node (gland) under the armpit but origin of cancer is unknown.
• Because the MRI uses a powerful magnet, our staff will carefully screen you to make sure that you don’t have any ferromagnetic metals on or in your body that could interfere with the magnet. For your safety, it is essential that you inform staff of any such objects.
• Just prior to the procedure, the technologist will insert an IV catheter into a vein in your arm which will allow the injection of contrast material during the MRI.
• During the procedure, you will lie face down on a special scanning table with your breasts suspended into special depressions that contain the breast imaging coils.
• The table will move into the MRI magnet and a series of images will be taken over a period of less than one hour. You will be asked to lie still while images are taken.
• The technologist will provide you with earplugs to reduce the noise, but you will be able to communicate with him or her throughout the procedure.
After several initial images are taken, the technologist will inject contrast material into your body to determine if any tissue “enhances”, or gets brighter. Enhancing tissue may indicate a cancerous lesion.
• After the procedure, the IV will be removed and you will change back into street clothes.
• You may resume normal activities immediately.
• The radiologist will provide a report of your results to your physician within a few days.
Community Radiology combines the most advanced technology, skilled radiologists and compassionate care to provide highly accurate breast MRI to patients who are appropriate for this procedure. We:
• have specialized radiologists highly experienced in interpreting breast MRIs plus experienced, certified technologists.
• use high field strength magnets (1.5 Tesla) with special CADStream software to provide the most advanced detection of cancerous lesions, and advanced VIBRANT technology to image both breasts at the same time without a loss in quality.
Breast MRI is available at the following Community Radiology Breast Centers
Covering Frederick, Montgomery and Prince George's counties
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