Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used as a supplement to mammography in certain situations and in combination with screening mammography in high-risk patients (BRCA gene carriers, strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer, prior radiation therapy to the chest, etc.).
Breast MRI also is used to evaluate patients with a new diagnosis of breast cancer prior to their surgery. A recent mammogram is always needed to interpret MR findings.
If you are scheduled for a breast MRI exam, you will be provided specific instructions and information about what to expect.
- If you have any metal within your body (pacemaker, aneurysm clip, etc.) you may not be able to get an MRI study
- You also may not be able to have a breast MRI if you have claustrophobia, severe allergies to medications or contrast agents, or have poor kidney function
During the procedure:
- You will lie face down on a special table, which has an area for your breasts
- You will be asked to remain still for approximately 30-45 minutes while the images are acquired
- All breast MRI exams require the infusion of contrast material, therefore, you will need an IV placed on the day of your study
If a suspicious finding is identified on the MRI study, you and your referring doctor will be informed. Many times an ultrasound is performed of the area in question to determine the best method for biopsy.
How to schedule your breast MRI
- Ask your primary care physician for a referral
- Appointments are available in both Hillcrest and La Jolla
- Call us for an appointment at 619-543-3405