Standard (Diagnostic) Breast MRI

Download/print the Breast MRI patient information sheet.

Download/print the Abbreviated Breast MRI brochure.

Breast MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed pictures of breast tissue and surrounding anatomy. It is approved by the FDA as an additional tool to help diagnose and detect breast cancers.

Suburban Imaging offers two types of breast MRI. A referral from your healthcare provider is needed prior to scheduling either exam.

Standard Breast MRI

This is a diagnostic exam that is used for evaluating implants, further evaluating breast abnormalities found on mammography or ultrasound, planning cancer treatment, assessing the extent of cancer, and is also used as an additional test for women at high risk of developing breast cancer (greater than 20% lifetime risk).

Abbreviated Breast MRI

This is a screening exam for women with dense breast tissue and/or a moderately increased risk of developing breast cancer (15%-20% lifetime risk). Abbreviated Breast MRI is used in conjunction with screening mammography; mammography is still the first test you should have to screen for breast cancer.

 To calculate your risk of developing breast cancer, visit the Cancer.gov website: www.cancer.gov/bcrisktool

What is Standard (Diagnostic) Breast MRI?

Standard Breast MRI is used in addition to mammography to aid in the diagnosis and detection of breast cancers. 

Standard Breast MRI has many important uses including:

  • Screening in women who are at high risk, typically because of a strong family history, for breast cancer
  • Determining the extent of breast cancer
  • Further evaluating abnormalities
  • Evaluating breast implants
Where can I schedule this exam?

A Standard Breast MRI exam can be scheduled at: 

How should I prepare?

• Arrive 10-15 minutes early to complete registration.
• Bring your insurance card and a valid photo ID.
• Let us know about any of the following:

- Any metal in your body (Review the MRI metal safety checklist here)
- Claustrophobia
- Kidney problems
- Pregnancy - known or possible
- Previous reactions to MRI contrast
- Recent chemotherapy (within 30 days)

How long will my exam take?

Standard Breast MRI exams typically take 1 hour.

What happens during my exam?

You will be asked to change into a gown or scrubs. Jewelry, watches, hair clips and possibly dentures will need to be removed. All personal items will be kept in a secure locker outside of the MRI room. The technologist will give you headphones so you can listen to music during the exam-you may bring a favorite CD with you or listen to a radio station of your choice.

The technologist will place an IV in your arm and position you on your stomach on the scanning table. Your breasts are placed into a depression in the table, which contains coils that detect the magnetic signal.

After an initial series of images have been taken, contrast will be injected into the IV line, and an additional set of images will be captured by the MRI scanner. There is no pain associated with a breast MRI. 

What happens after my exam?

There are no restrictions after your exam. You can resume your regular diet and activities.

Your images will be interpreted by a board-certified radiologist (physician) who specializes inbreast imaging. A report will be sent to your healthcare provider, who will then contact you to discuss the results.




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