How much radiation will I receive?
None. MRI uses a combination of magnetic fields and radio waves to make images. No ionizing radiation is used.
How long will my exam take?
Most breast MRI exams take about 40 – 60 minutes to complete.
Will I need an IV?
Yes. Intravenous contrast administration is critical for accurate diagnosis of breast cancer.
When will I know the results?
Much like we do with our mammography patients, we will contact you with the results of your study as soon as it is read. Your breast MRI will usually be read the same day as your test. Occasionally, we may have to delay your reading for a day or two. We will make every effort to let you know about delays.
Can I get a copy of my study/results?
Yes. Simply ask your technologist at the time of the study or call our office to arrange for us to send you a copy.
What do I have to do in the MRI machine?
Stay as still as possible and follow the technologist’s instructions. MR images take a long time for computers to process. Any patient movement during the scan can cause blurring which in turn could compromise the value of the test. This is the number one cause of non-diagnostic studies!
What if I’m claustrophobic?
Our magnets are designed to reduce patient anxiety. You will have a “call” bell with you in the magnet to alert the technologist to any potential problems you may have. If you need anti-anxiety medication before the study, please ask your health care provider for a prescription before your visit and allow adequate time after taking the medication for it to work before your appointment. If you take anti-anxiety medication, please have a driver accompany you.
Will my dental work/dentures pose a problem?
Do you have an “open” magnet?
Yes. We have an “open” magnet at our West Shore facility in Camp Hill. Unfortunately, we cannot perform breast MRI on the open magnet.
How will I be positioned in the machine?
For breast MRI, you will need to lie on your stomach. The technologist will position the Sentinelle breast coil under your chest. Your breasts will be held in gentle compression by the MR coil to prevent movement. Our technologists are expert in making our patients as comfortable as possible. However, if you anticipate that lying on your stomach may be a problem for you, please contact your health care provider beforehand to see if pain medication would be appropriate for you prior to your appointment. Please remember that patient movement during the scan can significantly compromise the quality of the images! Also, if you do require pain medication, please have a driver accompany you to your appointment.
How is breast MRI biopsy performed?
MRI-guided breast biopsies are performed in the same magnet where screening and diagnostic breast MRIs are done (at our Union Deposit office). You will first have a repeat breast MRI scan with intravenous contrast. Our radiologist will review your new images, compare them to the old ones, and identify the abnormality in question. Then, using a computer, the radiologist will devise a path to the abnormality. The skin overlying the area will be cleansed, and you will receive a small injection of local anesthesia. A grid placed on the side of your breast will help guide the radiologist to advance a needle to the target. Once the needle position is confirmed by MR imaging, the radiologist will obtain samples through the needle and place a small metallic marker behind. The samples will be sent for laboratory analysis. We will contact you with the results as soon as they are available, usually the next business day.