Your Radiologist Explains Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Breast
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Hello! I’m Dr. Elissa Price, a radiologist at the University of California San Francisco Breast Care Center. I’d like to talk with you about magnetic resonance imaging of the breast also known as breast MRI.
MRI uses a powerful magnetic field and a computer to produce detailed pictures of the breast and surrounding tissues.
Breast MRI is not a replacement for mammography. It’s used in addition to mammography to screen women at high risk. For women with a known cancer, MRI can determine the extent of disease. Less frequently, it can also be used to monitor lumpectomy sites following surgery or evaluate a previously found abnormality.
It’s also used to evaluate silicone breast implants and determine whether they have ruptured.
If you’re scheduled for a breast MRI, there are several things you can do to prepare.
First, tell your doctor if there’s any possibility you’re pregnant and discuss any serious health problems, recent surgeries, and allergies.
On the day of your exam, it’s best to wear loose, comfortable clothing and leave any jewelry at home. Tell the technologist if you have medical devices implanted in your body as these may interfere with the magnetic field of the MRI unit.
The magnetic field is not harmful in itself; however, some implanted devices may malfunction or cause problems during the exam.
Most MRI exams are relatively painless. However, some patients may find it uncomfortable to remain still for long periods while others may experience claustrophobia. If this is a concern, you may want to ask your doctor for a mild sedative prior to the exam.
For more information about this and other breast screening options, visit us at Radiology Info dot org.
Thank you for your time!