MRI is an advanced medical imaging tool which uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed imaging of soft tissues and muscle, which makes it ideal for imaging the breast.
Breast MRI is most commonly used for screening and diagnosis of breast cancer.
Some types of breast cancer are better viewed on MRI and some using Ultrasound and Mammograms. We leave it up to your specialist to determine the most appropriate imaging for you.
How do I prepare?
When you book in for your MRI and at your appointment, you will be asked certain safety questions. This is because an MRI machine is essentially a large magnet and certain implants are not MRI safe or only safe on certain machines. Please let bookings staff and the MRI Radiographer know if you have any of the following:
- Cardiac Pacemaker
- Cochlear Implant
- Aneurysm Clips
- Active Implanted Biomedical Devices
- Infusion Pump
- Any implants or devices in your head or body
Routine Breast MRI’s are performed on Day 7-10 of your menstrual cycle. If you don’t have a cycle or your scan is urgent it can be performed at anytime.
Please indicate at the time of booking if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
In some instances, you may find the MRI machine claustrophobic which could prevent you from having the imaging done. If this is the case, or if you have experienced this previously, let us know and we will talk through the options available to you.
Technology and Team
We have both 3T and 1.5T MRI machines available across our practices. The number refers to the strength of the magnetic field created by the MRI machine. The 1.5T is still considered completely adequate for most MRI scans, however your referrer may prefer you to have the scan completed on the 3T.
We also have wide bore options in limited locations. The wide bore offers slightly more space inside the MRI tube so it may help those who suffer from claustrophobia.
Your Breast MRI will be performed by an MRI Technician. These technicians are Radiographers who have undergone additional training and exams in order to operate an MRI scanner. The images the MRI captures are viewed by a Radiologist who makes a diagnosis based on what they can see.
What happens during my examination
When entering the MRI room, your MRI Radiographer will explain exactly what will happen during your procedure.
In most cases we will insert an intravenous (IV) line into your arm. We will use this to administer contrast, which will enhance the images we take of the breast tissue.
You will be asked to lie down on the MRI bed on your stomach with your breasts inside what we call a coil. The coil is essentially a table on top of the MRI bed which has holes for the breasts to go in.
We’ll make you as comfortable as possible using pillows and blankets.
When the images are being taken, you will hear loud banging noises made by the MRI machine. You’ll be offered headphones through which the MRI Radiographer can talk to you and play a selection of music to help reduce the noise and pass time more quickly. You will be given a button to press should you at any time want to talk to the Radiographer or stop the exam.
Once in position the MRI Radiographer will leave the room, and the bed will move slowly into the scanner so you are positioned in the centre of the machine.
You will need to lay very still for up to 45 minutes. We usually scan both breasts.
After your examination
The results of your Breast MRI will be sent directly to your referring Doctor. Please ensure you book a timely follow-up appointment to discuss your results with them.
The cost of a Breast MRI will depend on the reason for your scan. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.