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Breast MRI in Rochester

Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, is a highly sensitive, noninvasive diagnostic tool often used with mammography and ultrasound. It helps physicians evaluate the extent of breast cancer, establish a treatment plan, and monitor a patient’s response to chemotherapy. This advanced technology is also a valuable screening tool for patients considered to be at high risk for breast cancer, whether due to strong family history, genetic risk, personal history, or other risk factors.

MRI is an advanced, state-of-the-art medical imaging method. Breast MRI uses a powerful but harmless magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed images of the breast and its internal structures. No radiation is used for MRI imaging. The average Breast MRI appointment takes about one hour. However, the actual scan time is only about 20 minutes. Before the exam, you may eat and drink as usual and take medications as you usually would.

MRI scans pose minimal risks to most patients if safety guidelines are followed. One of our MRI staff will call you before your appointment to review these guidelines and the specifics of your exam.

Our radiology clinics are conveniently located in BataviaBrightonCarthageGeneseoGreeceVictor, and Webster. Call (585) 442-2190 to schedule your appointment at any of our breast imaging centers in the Rochester area today!

  • Have a known ATM, BRCA1, BRCA2, CDH1, CHEK2, NBN, PALB2, PTEN, STK11, or TP53 gene mutation
  • Have a first-degree relative (parent, brother, sister, or child) with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation and have not had genetic testing themselves
  • Have a lifetime risk of developing breast cancer ≥20%, according to risk assessment tools, that are based mainly on family history
  • Had radiation therapy to the chest wall when they were between the ages of 10 and 30 years

Missed or canceled MRI appointments with less than 24-hour notice: $200 fee charged.

If more than two appointments are missed or canceled without prior notice to our office in a two-year period, we reserve the right not to schedule any further appointments. Terms subject to change without prior notice.

Please review the following checklist prior to your exam:

  • If you think you may be claustrophobic, ask your health care provider to prescribe medication prior to the exam. If you do receive medication, bring someone with you to drive you home.
  • No metal is allowed in the MRI exam room. Safety pins, straight pins, metal hairpins, and all jewelry must be removed before entering the room.
  • If you were involved in an accident and may have a metal foreign body imbedded please be sure to tell the technologist prior to the exam. This may require you to have an x-ray prior to your MRI appointment to ensure foreign bodies are identified and their location.
  • You CANNOT have the exam if you have any of the following: cerebral aneurysm clips, certain heart valves, cochlear implants, metal filings in the eye, or a pacemaker.
  • BREAST Implants and MRI: Breast MRI is sometimes used to image silicone breast implants. If you have breast implants, it is important that you tell the technologist when she calls you before your exam and approximately how many years you’ve had them.

Exam Preparation:

  • Hydrate well prior to your appointment as we need to place an IV.
  • You will be lying on your stomach for 15-20 minutes.  Contact the office if this will be difficult for you.
  • If you think you may be claustrophobic, ask your doctor to prescribe medication prior to the exam.  You must have a driver take you to and from your appointment.
  • You will be given MRI-safe scrub pants to wear during the exam.
  • No metal is allowed: safety, straight and hair pins, along with any jewelry must be removed.
  • If your occupation includes metal work, please inform the office prior to your appointment as additional tests may be required.
  • You cannot have the exam if you have any of the following:
    • Cerebral aneurysm clips
    • Certain heart valves
    • Cochlear implants
    • Pacemaker
    • Metal eye filings

Breast MRI is a relatively comfortable and easy exam. You will be asked to lie on your stomach on a cushioned bed. Your breasts will be positioned within a padded opening on the bed. The bed will move into the magnet for the exam, and you will hear a muffled thumping sound intermittently throughout the scan. The most important thing you can do to ensure your exam is successful is to hold as still as you can throughout the procedure.

Most breast MRI exams require an injection of a contrast agent. An intravenous catheter (I.V.) for this injection will be placed in your arm before lying on the bed. Please tell us if you have ever had an allergic reaction to MRI contrast in the past (or any other contrast agent) or if you have any renal (kidney) disease.

Please note each insurance company has it’s own criteria to meet in order for coverage. Please check with your individual insurance provider to determine your coverage and eligibility for breast MRI. Our staff at EWBC can also help provide assistance and information to you and your PCP to help the process.

Please be advised that if your insurance requires a copayment or you have a deductible plan, this payment will be collected on the day of your MRI appointment.

Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health. A clinical breast exam by your doctor or health care provider (CBE) should be part of a periodic health exam. Women should know how their breasts normally feel and report any breast change promptly to their health care providers. Breast Self-Exam (BSE) is an option for women starting in their twenties.

Women at high risk (greater than 20% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer) are eligible for an MRI and a mammogram every year. This risk is determined by using standard risk assessment tools based mainly on family history.

  • If MRI is used, it should be in addition to, not instead of, a yearly screening mammogram. This is because while an MRI is a more sensitive test (it’s more likely to detect cancer than a mammogram), it may still not detect some cancers that a mammogram can.
  • MRI and mammogram screening depend on personal and family history and genetic test results. Therefore, the best age to start screening should be based on shared decision-making between patients and their healthcare providers, considering the personal medical history and risk factors for breast cancer.
  • Several risk assessment tools (i.e., BRCAPRO, Claus, Tyrer-Cuzick, Gail) are available to help health professionals estimate a woman’s breast cancer risk. However, these tools give approximate, rather than precise, breast cancer risk estimates based on different combinations of risk factors and other data sets. As a result, they may provide slightly different risk estimates for the same woman.
  • The risk estimates should be discussed by a woman and her physician when deciding whether to start MRI screening. EWBC has resources available to calculate your individual lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.
  • There is some emerging evidence that MRI may be effective as a screening tool for women at average risk, especially if the woman has dense breast tissue. However, while MRI is more sensitive than mammograms, it also has a higher false-positive rate (where the test finds something that turns out not to be cancer), which could result in additional biopsies and other tests in some women.


When you have an MRI of your breasts at EWBC, you will likely have an injection of fluid through an intravenous catheter (IV) called gadolinium.

This agent makes abnormalities such as breast cancer visible to your radiologist. Gadolinium is considered a safe agent and is widely used. Minor complications include but are not limited to headaches, coolness at the injection site, metallic taste, mild nausea or vomiting, and hives. More severe reactions can include but are not limited to asthma attacks, respiratory arrest, or nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF).

The contrast is excreted predominantly in the urine within 24 hours. Patients are more prone to contrast reactions if they have liver or kidney disease. Older patients who have diabetes or high blood pressure may be required to have their blood work checked to make sure their kidney function is in an acceptable range. This can be assessed from recent bloodwork from your health care provider’s office or checked at our facility on the same day as the MRI study. Our physicians will determine if it is safe for a patient to have an MRI with contrast.

Recently, there has been a discussion of possible gadolinium deposition in body tissues after an MRI. The FDA has investigated this concern, and so far, there has been no evidence that this causes any harm to patients. The safest agents with the least amount of deposition are called the “macrocyclic” contrast agents. At EWBC, we use the macrocyclic agent Dotarem® (by Guerbet), used predominantly in pediatric imaging, showing the most rapid and efficient excretion from the kidneys. After scrutiny, we believe that it is one of the safest and most effective agents available.