The breast MRI, located at the Saint Francis Breast Center, is a dedicated MRI used solely for breasts. The equipment and software used for this breast MRI were specifically selected by Saint Francis radiologists for our patients.
Breast MRI is a technology which uses magnets and radio waves instead of radiation to produce very detailed, cross-sectional images of the breast. It is generally used to provide more information about a suspicious area found in a physical exam or mammogram, though in some circumstances, it can be used as another screening tool. A patient must first be referred by her general physician to receive a breast MRI. This is after she has had a mammogram, ultrasound and possibly a biopsy.
Those who could benefit from a breast MRI include:
- Patients recently diagnosed with breast cancer
- Patients at high risk
- Patients with problematic implants
- Patients with challenging mammograms
MRI benefits include:
- A more accurate diagnosis
- The ability to find certain abnormalities earlier
- Better surgical planning for those already diagnosed with breast cancer
During the breast MRI, a woman lies face down on the MRI table. Her breasts are placed in a coil designed specifically to fit breasts. A series of scans will be taken before contrast is given for additional scans. Four, 90- second scans will be performed to see what blood flow to the breast tissue looks like. The software program used by the breast MRI helps pinpoint any suspicious areas in close to 1,000 images taken for each patient. It takes approximately 45 minutes for the exam.
For a patient already diagnosed with cancer, the breast MRI will improve surgical planning. The MRI will give the surgeon an idea of the true size of the tumor and will allow the surgeon to look for additional cancers in the breasts. This technology allows the surgeon to be more informed of what surgery best suits the patient, as well as eliminate numerous surgeries.
The breast MRI technology is a tool which can be used not only to find cancer as early as possible, but also to try and reduce the "worry factor" and provide peace of mind among women with suspicious mammograms. This instrument will help women know they are making the right decision about their breast health and what type of surgery needs to occur.