Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a test that creates detailed images of organs, bones, and other structures inside your body. An MRI uses large magnets and a computer to make the images. It does not use radiation.
An MRI scanner is a large machine with a tunnel. You lie on a table that slides in and out of the tunnel. For a breast MRI, a woman lies face down with her breasts positioned through holes in a table. A breast MRI is often done with contrast dye. It’s injected into a vein in the arm before or during the procedure. The dye can help create clearer images.
Breast MRI is most often used to look for and assess breast cancer. Some common uses for breast MRI include:
The American Cancer Society advises breast MRI and a mammogram for some high-risk women at high risk of breast cancer. This includes:
Your health care provider may have other reasons to advise breast MRI.
All procedures have some risks. The risks of this procedure may include:
In some cases, a person shouldn’t have an MRI. This can include:
Your risks may vary depending on your general health and other factors. Ask your health care provider which risks apply most to you. Talk with him or her about any concerns you have.
Your health care provider will explain the procedure to you. Ask him or her any questions you have. You may be asked to sign a consent form that gives permission to do the procedure. Read the form carefully. Ask questions if anything is not clear.
Tell the health care provider if you:
Metal in the body can be dangerous during an MRI. Also tell the health care provider if you:
Make sure to:
You may have your procedure as an outpatient. This means you go home the same day. Or it may be done as part of a longer stay in the hospital. The way the procedure is done may vary. It depends on your condition and your health care provider's methods. In most cases, the breast MRI will follow this process:
Get up slowly from the scanner table. This will help to prevent dizziness. If you took sedatives for the procedure, you will need to rest until the sedatives wear off. You will need to have someone drive you home. Your health care provider will talk with you about the results in a follow-up visit.
If contrast dye was used during your procedure, you may be watched for any side effects or reactions to the dye. These may include itching, swelling, rash, or trouble breathing. If you are nursing, do not breastfeed for 36 to 48 hours after a breast MRI with contrast dye.
Call your health care provider if you have any of the below:
Your health care provider may give you other instructions after the procedure.
Before you agree to the test or the procedure make sure you know:
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