Breast MRI scan

What is a Breast MRI Scan?

A breast MRI is a medical imaging technique used to diagnose and evaluate breast diseases and conditions. It combines magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and specialized computer software to create detailed three-dimensional (3D) pictures of the inside of the breasts.

Preparation for a Breast MRI Scan

There may be some preparation required before a breast MRI scan, depending on the patient’s condition. For an uncomplicated exam, no special preparation is needed. Patients should inform their doctor of any allergies they have and any medications they are taking, as some medications and contrast materials may interfere with the scan.

Procedure For A Breast MRI Scan

A breast MRI scan typically takes between 30 and 60 minutes. Before the scan, the patient will need to change into a gown or other clothing provided by the hospital or imaging facility. The patient will lie down on a special table with the breasts placed in the machine’s scanner, typically in a paddle-like device. The breasts are then compressed while the machine creates a series of images.

Types of Breast MRI Scan

There are different types of breast MRI scan. These include:

  • Screening: This scan is used to detect potential breast disease.
  • Diagnostic: This scan is used to examine a specific area of the breast.
  • Biopsies: This scan is used to guide doctors in biopsy procedures.
  • Surveillance: This scan is used to monitor a condition over time.

Risks and Benefits of a Breast MRI Scan

A breast MRI scan is generally safe and painless. There is a slight risk of claustrophobia due to the enclosed scanner. The main risks include false positive results, which can lead to unnecessary biopsies or treatment, and false negative results, which can result in a missed diagnosis. The benefits, however, include high accuracy and early detection of breast diseases.

Why and When to Have a Breast MRI Scan?

A breast MRI scan may be recommended if a patient has an increased risk of breast cancer due to a gene mutation or family history. It may also be recommended for certain types of lumps or abnormalities found on a mammogram or ultrasound. If radiation exposure is a concern, a breast MRI may be preferable to a mammogram.