||Breast MRI
Breast MRI2018-02-19T10:50:42+00:00

Breast MRI

Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI is a highly sensitive, noninvasive diagnostic tool that is often used in conjunction with mammography and ultrasound. It helps physicians evaluate the extent of a breast cancer, as well as 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. Actual scan time is only about 20 minutes. Before the exam, you may eat and drink as usual and take medications as you normally would.

MRI scans pose minimal risks to most patients if safety guidelines are followed. One of our MRI staff will be calling you in advance of your appointment to go over these guidelines and the specifics of your exam.

  • 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 when they’re between the ages of 10 and 30 years

Missed or canceled MRI appointments with less than 24-hour notice: $100 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.

EWBC MRI Department

Brighton location (separate entrance to the left of the main building) 170 Sawgrass Drive | Rochester, NY 14620
585-758-7050

Please review the following checklist prior to your exam:

  • If you think you may be claustrophobic, ask your doctor 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 hair pins and all jewelry must be removed before entering the room.
  • If your occupational background includes metal work (welder, grinder, etc.) please be sure to tell the technologist prior to the exam. This may require you to have an orbital x-ray prior to your MRI appointment to ensure foreign bodies are identified.
  • 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 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.

Please help us to accommodate all of our patients

Breast MRI is a very specialized procedure for which there are a limited number of available  appointments. Our MRI schedule is very busy and runs on the hour. Therefore, it is important that you are here on time for your scheduled appointment.

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 make sure 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 you lie 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 review the Following checklist prior to your exam:

    • If you think you may be claustrophobic, ask your doctor 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 hair pins and all jewelry must be removed before entering the room.
    • If your occupational background includes metal work (welder, grinder, etc.) please be sure to tell the technologist prior to the exam. This may require you to have an orbital x-ray prior to your MRI appointment to rule out foreign body.
    • You CANNOT have the exam if you have any of the following: cerebral aneursym clips, certain heart valves, cochlear implants, metal filings in the eye, or pacemaker.

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.

American Cancer Society/ Society of Breast Imaging

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, about every three years for women in their twenties and thirties and every year for women forty and over.

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 eligibile for a 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 may still not detect some cancers that a mammogram can.
  • Screening with MRI and Mammography depends on family and personal history of cancer and genetic test results. As the evidence is limited regarding the best age at which to start screening, this decision should be based on shared decision making between patients and their health care providers, taking into account personal circumstances and preferences.
  • Several risk assessment tools (i.e. BRCAPRO, Claus model, Tyrer-Cuzick, Gail) are available to help health professionals estimate a woman’s breast cancer risk. These tools give approximate, rather than precise, estimates of breast cancer risk based on different combinations of risk factors and different data sets. As a result, they may give slightly different risk estimates for the same woman.
  • The risk estimates should be discussed by a woman and her doctor when being used to decide on whether to start MRI screening. EWBC has resources available to calculate an individual lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.
  • There is no evidence at this time that MRI will be an effective screening tool for women at average risk. 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 unnecessary biopsies and other tests in a large portion of these women.

When you have a MRI of your breasts at EWBC, you will likely have an injection of fluid thru 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: headache, coolness at the injection site, metallic taste, mild nausea or vomiting and hives. More serious 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. Patient’s 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 acceptable range. This can be assessed from recent outside bloodwork from your doctor’s office or it can be checked at our facility the same day as the MRI study. The medical staff will determine if it is safe for a patient to have a MRI with contrast.

Recently, there has been discussion of possible gadolinium deposition in body tissues after a MRI. The FDA is researching this issue 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), which is used predominantly in pediatric imaging, showing the most rapid and efficient excretion from the kidneys. After close scrutiny, we believe that it is one of the safest and most effective agents available to date.

This page is intended as an educational resource only. It is not a substitute for professional care. Please see your physician if you have any concerns about your own health.