Breast MRI

Breast MRI

Why breast MRI? A safe, painless imaging technique, breast MRI combines magnets and radio waves to create images of your body’s tissues. While X-rays allow for quick, convenient mammograms, breast MRI provides greater detail that helps physicians detect cancerous tumors, during early stages when they are most treatable, that a mammogram might miss. And at American Health Imaging (AHI), when you have an Accelerated Breast MRI™, also known as abbreviated breast MRI, you can have the best of both worlds—convenient imaging that produces more detailed results.

How Does Accelerated Breast MRI Differ from Regular Breast MRI?

The difference between Accelerated Breast MRI and a regular breast MRI may seem obvious—Accelerated Breast MRI is faster than regular breast MRI exams, taking only 12 to 18 minutes per session. Accelerated Breast MRI is also less expensive than a regular breast MRI exam, offering patients a more affordable, but just as reliable, exam that can complement yearly mammograms to detect breast cancer.

Accelerated Breast MRI and Breast Cancer

Yearly mammograms are excellent for screening for breast cancer, but for women at high risk, many physicians also recommend a yearly breast MRI—giving you the option to opt for the more convenient Accelerated Breast MRI. In women already diagnosed with breast cancer, Accelerated Breast MRI can also help measure existing tumors and detect the growth of new ones.
Mammogram and Accelerated Breast MRI: Accelerated Breast MRI can complement your yearly mammography screening.
Risk Factors for Breast Cancer: Find out what factors increase your risk of developing breast cancer.
Accelerated Breast MRI for High-Risk Patients: If you have one or more factors that increase your likelihood of developing breast cancer, an Accelerated Breast MRI in conjunction with your yearly mammogram could help clinicians gather important information about your breast health.
Accelerated Breast MRI for Low-Risk Patients: Even if you are not in the high-risk category, your doctor may order Accelerated Breast MRI to investigate suspected cancers.
Accelerated Breast MRI for Women With Dense Breast Tissue: Not all lumps mean cancer. Accelerated Breast MRI helps doctors determine which tissue is healthy and which tissue should be biopsied.

Preparing for Your Accelerated Breast MRI

Accelerated Breast MRI is most effective the week following your period. You can tell us which times and AHI locations work best with your schedule, and we’ll call you the week prior to your appointment to provide additional guidance. This guidance will include a discussion of existing medical conditions, what to do if you’re pregnant or nursing and the best clothing to wear to your exam.

What to Expect During Your Accelerated Breast MRI

During an Accelerated Breast MRI exam, you’ll be asked to wear a hospital gown and remove any jewelry and other metallic objects that could interfere with the machine’s magnets. You’ll lie on your stomach on a cushioned table, with your breasts naturally positioned in a cushioned opening, your head on a headrest and your arms positioned above your head. Once you’re in position, the table will slide into the circular MRI machine. During your 12-to 18-minute exam, your technologist will be able to hear, see and speak to you, alleviating any concerns you may have.

Ready to talk with someone about your options for Accelerated Breast MRI?

*The Accelerated Breast MRI program from American Health Imaging is not intended to replace annual or bi-annual mammograms but is offered only as an adjunct to routine screening protocols.

Frequently Asked Questions

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a safe, pain-free diagnostic imaging technique that combines magnets and radio waves to create detailed images of your body’s structures. While X-rays are typically used to view bones and joints, MRI is better suited for organs, muscles, and other soft tissues. Ultimately, being able to see detailed images of these tissues allows doctors to diagnose and monitor heart diseases, tumors, and a variety of internal injuries.

While MRI exams cost more than CT scans and X-rays, they offer a few key advantages. Most importantly, they allow radiologists to spot slight abnormalities in soft tissues, which may indicate the presence of cancer, heart disease, and other serious conditions. Likewise, MRI helps doctors differentiate between healthy and unhealthy tissues.

In addition to its diagnostic benefits, MRI is a radiation-free imaging technique. This is a particularly important advantage for pregnant women and patients with compromised immune systems.

If your doctor has opted for MRI over CT or X-ray, you may be wondering why they have chosen the more expensive exam. Their reasoning will depend upon your specific condition, but generally, physicians order MRI when they need to spot fine details and differentiate between normal and abnormal soft tissues. These abnormalities may include tumors, cysts, and blood vessel obstructions, as well as aneurysms, spinal cord defects, and other nervous system disorders. Over the course of your treatment, your MRI could prove invaluable in making an accurate diagnosis and forming a proper treatment plan.

Some conditions warrant MRI exams right away, but doctors usually order them after viewing the results of CT scans, X-rays or other imaging procedures. Given their higher costs, doctors, and insurers often want to exhaust other options first.

At the start of your MRI exam, your technologist will ask you to remove jewelry, belts, and other metal objects, and they will help you lie comfortably on a cushioned table. That table will then slide into the circular MRI machine, which contains the large magnet necessary to produce detailed images. As your technologist collects images, they’ll be able to see, hear, and speak to you, alleviating any concerns you may have.

To provide for maximum comfort during your exam, American Health Imaging has invested in MRI machines with large openings and slim profiles, which help to prevent feelings of claustrophobia. You won’t feel like you’re entering a narrow tunnel, and depending upon the area of your body being imaged, your head and feet may still be in the open.

“Open” MRI refers to a specific type of MRI machine with a non-confining opening beside or in front of the patent. During an open MRI exam, the patient sits or stands with magnets positioned to the side or above depending on the brand and model. Compared to traditional MRI, the extra unobstructed space allows for a more pleasant, less confined experience. If your physician has ordered an MRI exam, you may want to check whether an open MRI is an option for the type of imaging study you need Find your location here.

A painless, radiation-free imaging technique, MRI is completely safe for most patients. However, p