Making Sense of Breast MRI

If your doctor has recommended that you undergo an Accelerated Breast MRI™, also known as an abbreviated breast MRI, you may feel uneasy or maybe even worried. Knowing more about what to expect can help.

That’s why we’re taking a few minutes to explain this unique type of imaging scan.

What Is a Breast MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging, otherwise known as an MRI, is a type of imaging scan that uses magnets and radio waves to create very detailed images. A breast MRI, then, is a detailed scan of the breast tissue.

This type of imaging scan is particularly helpful for visualizing tissue in the body, which is why it can be so beneficial in detecting abnormalities in breast tissue.

What to Expect During a Breast MRI

When you arrive for your breast MRI, you’ll change into a gown and then an IV will be started. You’ll be directed to lie on your stomach, with your breasts fit into two openings of what’s known as the “coil.”

“The coil is what most people would consider the camera,” says Lori Carithers, RT(R)(CT)(MR), a technologist at American Health Imaging. “This is what captures the signals that your body is giving off and produces the images. Once the exam starts, you will hear some knocking, pinging and other various loud noises. You will be given headphones to protect your hearing and so we can talk back and forth.”

Halfway through the exam, contrast dye will be injected into the IV. This dye helps enhance any abnormalities in the breast tissue to make them easy to see on images.

“The most important thing during the exam is to stay still and try and relax with some nice and easy breathing,” Carithers says. “After the exam is complete, you will be moved out of the magnet. You can go about your day and all normal activities.”

Calming Common Fears About a Breast MRI

When you’re undergoing any type of medical procedure or imaging scan, some level of fear and worry is normal. The AHI team does its best to calm those fears at every stage of the process.

“One fear I commonly see has nothing to do with the exam; it actually has to do with the results,” Carithers says. “Most women will already be worked up about the ‘what ifs.’ I try to let people know they are taking a really big step in just having the exam done.”

Pain is another common fear, but a breast MRI offers benefits in that regard.

“Most women with implants or small breasts rarely have great experiences with having their mammograms done,” Carithers says. “For those women, this test is completely painless, and most women will come off the scanner surprised it is already over.”

AHI offers advanced and affordable breast MRI services, including Accelerated Breast MRI in some locations. Call (855) 674-2464 to schedule an appointment at the location convenient to you.