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Breast MRI FAQ
Why has my doctor ordered this study?
Breast MR is used to assess the breast, including:
- To screen women for breast cancer, especially those with a strong family history, such as someone with:
- A sister or mother who has had breast cancer before age 50
- An aunt or cousin who has had breast or ovarian cancer
- To determine the extent of cancer after a new diagnosis of breast cancer
- To evaluate a lumpectomy site years after a breast cancer treatment
- To evaluate breast implants
Is Breast MR an alternative to Mammography?
Breast MR provides additional information and serves as a compliment to mammography. Breast MR is not a replacement for a mammogram.
What will the study show?
An MRI study provides detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures. The images can then be examined on a computer monitor, transmitted electronically, printed or copied to a CD. MRI does not use ionizing radiation (x-rays).
A Breast MR image.
What does the study involve?
Please see our Procedure page.
Does the study involve radiation?
No. MRI works on the basis of magnets. No radiation is involved.
Does the study involve compression?
No. Unlike a mammogram, no compression of your breasts is required for a breast MRI.
Will I have privacy during the exam?
A female technician will position you. While doing so, a privacy screen will ensure that no one can see into the MR room.
Will anyone be able to talk to me or hear me during the scan?
Yes. At all times during the scan, a certified MRI Technologist will be in two-way communication with you. It is crucial that while a series of images is being taken, you remain still or the images may be blurred, which may mean the sequence of scans has to be redone. You can tell when images are being taken by changes in the noise the MR machine makes.
What do I do if I feel the need to stop the study?
You will be given a small bulb to hold. If you squeeze it, the technician can stop the study to assist you. If you do so, the study will not have to be redone. However, a sequence of images may need to be repeated.
How long is the MR study?
For the exam, you will be in the MRI machine for about 45 minutes, during which you will need to lie still on your stomach, your arms laying by your side or above your head. You will be at the S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center for about two hours.
How many sequences of images will be taken?
The number of sequences taken depends on your particular case. The subspecialized breast MR radiologist will determine how many sequences are required for you.
How do I find out the results?
Your scan will be examined by an imaging physician and a report sent to your doctor. Your doctor will review the results with you and discuss what they mean in relation to your health. To request a copy of your images on a CD or film, or of your report, please call (310) 423-8000, option 2. Copies normally take 48 hours to produce. You can also order a CD online.
The S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center provides a full range of advanced imaging, both radiology and cardiology, as well as interventional radiology and interventional tumor (oncology) treatments to the greater Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, Encino, Mid-Cities, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Studio City, Toluca Lake, and West Hollywood.