Breast Imaging

Breast Imaging

Close surveillance or screening for cancer uses tests to try to detect cancer in its early stages, when it is most treatable. The American Cancer Society recommends that women with a high risk of breast cancer undergo MRI screening in addition to mammography as MRI is more sensitive in detecting the disease.

MRI may be used to distinguish between benign (non-cancerous) and malignant (cancerous) lesions. Because of its high sensitivity, MRI may also pick up areas of the breast that attract blood flow but are not cancerous, leading to "false positives" and unnecessary biopsies. Although MRI can detect tumors in dense breast tissue, mammography is still better at detecting microcalcifications. The two techniques are used together in screening patients at increased risk for the development of breast cancer. MRI is also commonly used to assess the extent of breast cancer in a woman who has recently been diagnosed with the disease.

KNI has MRI machines specifically made for imaging the breast and Mammographers/Breast Radiologists trained in interpreting breast MRI results. KNI also has the capability of performing MRI-guided biopsies to sample areas of concern not seen on mammography or ultrasound.

How long is the MRI exam?

Allow 1 hour for your MRI exam. In most cases, the procedure takes 20-45 minutes, during which time several dozen images may be obtained.

Before the exam

Personal items such as your watch, wallet-including any credit cards with magnetic strips (they will be erased by the magnet) and jewelry should be left at home, if possible, or removed prior to the MRI scan. Secured lockers are available to store personal possessions.

During the exam

You will be asked to wear a hospital gown during the MRI scan.

You will be placed in a position similar to this:

As the MRI scan begins, you will hear the equipment making a muffled thumping sound, which will last for several minutes. Other than the sound, you should experience no unusual sensations during the scanning.

Breast MRI exams require an injection of a contrast material called gadolinium. Patients with poor kidney function should not receive gadolinium.

Please feel free to ask questions. Tell the technologist or the physician if you have any concerns.

After the exam

You can resume your usual activities and normal diet immediately.

Your physician will discuss the test results with you.

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