Breast MRI is a non-invasive diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets and radio frequencies, instead of x-rays to produce detailed images of the breast.
MRI may show problems in the breast that cannot be seen on an X-ray, ultrasound or CT scan. The MRI records pictures that show your breast structure; tissue damage or disease (such as infection, inflammation or lump). MRI may be done with or without and IV injection of contrast (dye) depending upon the indication for the test. MRI does not replace mammography, but may be used if additional information is considered necessary by your doctor.
Why is a breast MRI needed?
MRI of the breast is not a replacement for mammography or ultrasound imaging but rather a supplemental tool that has many important uses, including:
- Screening women at high risk for breast cancer such as women who carry the breast cancer gene or because of a strong family history have a 20 percent or greater lifetime risk of developing breast cancer
- Determining the extent of breast cancer and to screen the opposite breast after a new diagnosis so the best treatment can be determined
- Evaluating breast tissue changes during treatment for breast cancer
- Evaluating lumpectomy sites in the years following breast cancer treatment
- Evaluating breast implants to determine whether silicone implants have ruptured