What is breast MRI?
A breast MRI is a diagnostic imaging test which uses sensitive magnetic fields to create highly detailed images of the breast. It does not use x-rays and is usually performed in addition to, rather than instead of, mammography and ultrasound.
MRI of the breast is a very sensitive imaging technique which can assist in identifying cancer in high-risk patients. It can also determine the extent of a known cancer in the breast.
How should I prepare for a breast MRI?
There is no specific preparation for a breast MRI, however you will be required to make an appointment and the examination may be scheduled for a certain time of the menstrual cycle in premenopausal women. This is usually between day 7 and 14 of the menstrual cycle. You will be able to take your normal medication, however if you are on Hormone Replacement Therapy, you will have to stop taking it 4-6 weeks before your appointment.
Please bring any previous x-rays with you to Epworth Medical Imaging on the day of your examination.
On the day of your appointment
Epworth Medical Imaging’s friendly staff will greet you upon arrival and take your referral form. You will be required to complete an MRI questionnaire to ensure that you are safe to go into the MRI scanner.
One of our radiographers will come and collect you and ask you to change into a gown.
The MRI radiographer will position you on the MRI table and explain what to expect. You will be given a ‘buzzer’ to squeezeshould there be discomfort during the scanning process. It is very important to remain as still as possible during the scans to avoid any blurring of the images. Between scansthe MRI radiographer will communicate with you to ensure that you are comfortable and to keep you informed of the progress of the examination.
You will be asked to lie on your stomach on a movable padded table with your arms above your head. Your breasts will be placed into the breast coil, which is like a special padded bra. This coil works with the MRI machine to create the images of your breasts.
Mild compression (pressure) is put on your breasts to keep them from moving otherwise the images may be blurry. This is far less than the compression you will have experienced with a mammogram and is not painful. Your breasts will be completely covered during the entire examination.
You may need an injection of a small amount of special fluid (called contrast) into the vein on the inside of your elbow or on the back of your hand. The contrast helps the breasts to be better visualised on the images.
As with any medication or injection, there is a small chance of an allergic reaction so please tell our staff if you have had any form of reaction to the contrast before. The contrast is usually excreted by the body within an hour of injection. You will be required to stay in the waiting area for 15 minutes after your scan to ensure that you do not have a reaction to the contrast.
After your examination please report to reception where you will be presented with hardcopy films and a CD of images. The radiologist will produce a report which will be sent directly to your GP or specialist – please contact your GP or specialist in order to discuss results.
Epworth Medical Imaging accepts cash, cheque, EFTFOS, MasterCard and Visa for payment on the day. If you have provided your bank details to Medicare, we can lodge Medicare claims electronically so as your Medicare rebate is direct deposited into your bank account.
Pensioners and healthcare card-holders will be bulked billed for all items covered under the Medicare schedule, although some surgical procedures and scans may incur a cost, as they are not covered under Medicare. Our staff will inform you of costs prior to your examination. Please have your Medicare card ready to present to reception.