Sometimes not enough information can be gathered from a mammogram or ultrasound, which is often due to dense breast tissue, and so in these cases an MRI of the breast may additionally be required. These scans use magnetism to build up an image of the breast tissue.
What can I expect?
During the examination you will lie face down on a padded table, which has a hollow depression for your breasts and this contains coils that detect the magnetic signals from the MRI machine. This table will then slide into the MRI machine, which creates a magnetic field around you with radio waves aimed at your body. You won’t feel anything but you may hear the sound of the machine operating and so you will be offered earplugs to wear or you can have music playing. A dye may be injected through an intravenous line in your arm before the examination in order to enhance the view of blood vessels or tissues on the MRI pictures. The test usually takes between 30 minutes and one hour.
Are there any risks?
The risks associated with a breast MRI are in connection to the contrast dye that may be used. Sometimes patients may experience an allergic reaction to this dye.
After the test
If you have had sedation for the test you will need to rest until you are fully awake. Otherwise, you can expect to resume your normal activities immediately after the test.
If you have had sedation it is essential that someone comes to collect you to take you home and that you rest for the remainder of the day. After sedation you should not drive, operate machinery or drink alcohol for 24 hours.