Breast MRI in Northern Virginia and Maryland
What is a Breast MRI?
MRI is a sophisticated technology that uses a computer, magnetic field and radio waves instead of x-rays to produce images of the soft tissues in the body. A Breast MRI uses MRI technology to solely focus on the breast and its anatomy for diagnostic purposes.
How do I prepare for a breast MRI?
It is very important that any prior breast films (mammograms, ultrasound or MRI) be made available to the radiologist for comparison during the interpretation of your MRI scan. If you have had these at a facility other than Radiology Imaging Associates, please bring them with you on the day of your appointment. After the MRI is read, those films will be returned to the facility where they originated.
MRI uses a very powerful magnet, radio waves and a sophisticated computer system to produce remarkable images without x-ray radiation. Because of the powerful magnet used, certain safety precautions must be observed. Patients may not qualify for MRI if any of the following conditions exist:
- Cardiac Pacemaker
- Cochlear implants
- Artificial heart valves
- Aneurysm clips
- Neural stimulator
- Metal objects (or piercings) imbedded in the body
- Metallic fragments or objects in the eye
- Permanent make-up (eyeliner, lip liner, eyebrows, etc.)
- Pregnanacy or IUD
What should I expect from the breast MRI procedure?
The entire appointment will take 45 minutes to an hour. This exam should be scheduled 7-10 days after the start of your menstrual cycle. Correct timing is important to minimize false positive findings that can occur due to hormonal influence on the breast tissue. If you experience minor claustrophobia or anxiety, you may want to ask your physician for a mild sedative. Do not take the sedative until you have signed your paperwork.
When you arrive you will be asked to complete paperwork regarding your history and symptoms. We will escort you into a private dressing room where you can change into a gown and remove all jewelry, since these items contain metal, which disturbs MRI signals. An MRI technologist will position you for the scan. During the exam, you will lie on your stomach with your arms up over your head and you will enter the machine—head first. It’s best to avoid eating a large meal prior to the exam. A Breast MRI requires light compression to stabilize the breast, but you should not experience discomfort.
Most patients receive an injection of contrast material called gadolinium during the exam through a vein in the arm. The injection of contrast material is necessary if the MRI is being performed for the diagnosis of breast cancer. It is sometimes not necessary if the sole intent of the study is to evaluate silicone breast implants. Adverse reactions to gadolinium are rare. You will be asked to lie very still, relax and breathe normally. The MRI scan will only take 15-20 minutes. There are typically no side effects during or after MRI, so you can resume normal activities as soon as your exam is over.
Locations offering Breast MRI
How do I make an Appointment?
Please have your physician’s order and insurance card if applicable, and call (877) 504-9729.