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Breast MRI

MRI of the breast has emerged as a new technique in the evaluation of breast disease. When used in conjunction with conventional mammography, breast MRI can provide valuable information for the detection and characterization of breast disease. MRI doesn’t replace mammography – it’s a different imaging technique that provides additional information.

Indications for use of the Aurora® Dedicated Breast MRI:

  • New diagnosis breast cancer
  • Evaluate patients with positive surgical margins for residual cancer
  • Characterize lesions
  • Detect occult cancer
  • Monitor cancer therapy
  • Evaluate implant integrity and detect cancer in women with breast augmentation
  • Exclude the existence of cancer in high-risk women
  • Perform MRI guided vacuum assisted biopsies

What is a breast MRI exam like?

The Aurora dedicated Breast MRI is designed for the comfort of a woman. During the exam, the patient lies on her abdomen with her breasts placed in openings in the examination table so that they are suspended away from her chest. Unlike mammography, Breast MRI doesn’t require breasts to be compressed. The patient enters the MRI feet-first which reduces feelings of claustrophobia sometimes associated with full-body MRI scanners. An initial scan will be taken and then the patient will receive an injection of gadolinium, a contrast agent. The scan will then be repeated. The entire exam takes about 45 minutes.

To schedule an appointment call (337) 521-9182.

Leading up to the test:

Try to schedule the test between days 5 and 15 of your menstrual cycle. This is a time when the breast tissue is less dense.

If your doctor prescribes a sedative:

  • Arrange for a ride home.
  • Take the sedative 1-2 hours before the exam, or as directed.

Once at Elaine M. Junca Women's Imaging Centre:

You will be asked about the following:

  • Medical and surgical history
  • Pregnancy
  • Allergies
  • Other conditions that you may have—If your MRI involves contrast material, your doctor will ask about the health of your kidneys. There is a risk of complications in people who have kidney disease and receive contrast material.

You will be asked if you have something in your body that would interfere with or make it so you cannot have an MRI, such as:

  • Pacemaker or implantable defibrillator
  • Neurostimulator
  • Ear implant
  • Metal fragments in your eyes or in any other part of your body (Tell your doctor if your work involves metal filings or particles.)
  • Implanted port device
  • Metal plate, pins, screws, or surgical staples
  • Metal clips from aneurysm repair
  • Retained bullets
  • Any other large metal objects in your body (Tooth fillings and braces are usually fine.)
  • You will remove any metal objects (eg, jewelry, hearing aids, glasses).

An x-ray may be taken to see if there are any metal objects in your body.

You may be:

  • Given ear plugs or headphones to wear (The MRI machine makes a loud banging noise.)
  • Allowed to have a family member or friend with you during the test

MRI is a sophisticated technology that stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. By using a computer, a magnetic field and radio waves instead of x-rays, the MRI produces detailed images of the soft tissues in the body from any angle and with great clarity.

It is a vital diagnostic tool in breast health when used in conjunction with mammography and ultrasound. The increased level of detail that MRI offers helps your doctor make more informed diagnoses.

The spa-like atmosphere and friendly staff help reduce the stress of getting your MRI. When you arrive at the centre, you will be greeted by our Nurse Navigator, a Registered Nurse who will guide you through every step of your appointment.

Once your paperwork has been completed, the Nurse Navigator will escort you to one of our changing areas where you can store your belongings in a safe and secure locker, change into a comfortable robe and sit in the atrium enjoying peaceful views of Elaine’s Garden while you wait for your technician.

When your technician is ready for you, she will escort you to our MRI room where you will lie face down on your stomach on a moveable bed. The bed will slide into a large, cylindrical magnet. Your breasts will hang into cushioned openings. You may be hooked up to monitors. These monitors will track your pulse, heart rate, and breathing. The technician will be in another room and give you directions via an intercom. A magnetic field will be produced to generate three-dimensional images of your breast tissue. As this happens, you will hear loud banging noises.

The MRI may require contrast dye to make the pictures better. In this case, you will receive an IV in your hand or arm. Contrast material will be injected through the IV. The test will take approximately 90 minutes.

After the test, you will need to wait until the images are examined. In some cases, the technician may need to take more images.

If you took a sedative, do not drive, operate machinery, or make important decisions until the sedative wears off completely.

If you are breastfeeding and receive a contrast dye, you and your doctor should discuss when you should start breastfeeding again. Information available has not found any ill effects to a baby if a mother has had contrast dye.

Younger women and women who have dense breast tissue (tissue made up of more muscle than fat) can be difficult to image using mammography. Studies have shown that breast MRI is more effective in imaging dense breasts.

It is also used for the following purposes:

  • To evaluate implant integrity and detect cancer in women with breast augmentation
  • To determine the extent of recently diagnosed cancer
  • To monitor cancer therapy
  • To assess cancer recurrence in breast cancer survivors