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Breast MRI Procedure

What is Breast MRI?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive diagnostic tool that produces very detailed images by using radio waves and a strong magnetic field. Breast MRI is simple and painless. It does not replace Mammograms or Ultrasound as a screening tool.

Please notify your physician before your MRI is scheduled if you:

  • Have a Cardiac Pacemaker, Implantable Cardioverter, Cochlear Implants, Neurostimulation System, or other electronic devices.
  • Are pregnant or think you may be pregnant.
  • Are claustrophobic.
  • Have ever had a reaction to contrast or if you have allergies or sensitivity to medications.

Scheduling your procedure:

  • The procedure should be scheduled 7 – 14 days after the beginning of your menstrual cycle.
  • Plan on the procedure taking one hour (15 minutes for preparation, 30 minutes for the procedure and 15 minutes for your release).
  • Your Via Christi Clinic Radiologist will need to compare your prior exam with the MRI. If your previous mammogram was not performed at Via Christi Clinic please bring your films with you to your procedure or request that they be sent to Via Christi Clinic’s Radiology Department at Founders’ Circle.
  • Your MRI will be performed at Via Christi Clinic Founders’ Circle location.

Preparing for your procedure:

  • We suggest you wear a comfortable two-piece outfit since you will need to remove all clothing above the waist for the procedure. (A comfortable gown will be provided for you.)
  • Because the MRI uses a very strong magnet, you should avoid wearing jewelry and clothing with metal decoration, snaps, buttons, or zippers.

When you arrive:

  • Check in at the Lab/Radiology desk in the Medical Office Building at Founders’ Circle.
  • Complete a questionnaire concerning previous surgeries and surgically implanted metal devices.
  • You will be given a comfortable gown to cover the upper part of your body after you have removed all clothing above the waist.
  • You will be shown a locker where you can secure your belongings including all metal items such as jewelry, watches, and hair pins. Eyeglasses, dentures, wigs, and hearing aids will also need to be secured in the locker.

Steps in the Breast MRI procedure:

  • An IV will be started in your hand or arm. This will be used to inject contrast during the final stages of the exam. The contrast will enable the Radiologist to see tissue abnormalities more clearly.
  • You will be asked to lie on your stomach on the scan table. Your breasts will rest in cushioned holes that are part of the breast coil. This breast coil works like an antenna and allows the machine to take very detailed images of your breasts. Unlike a mammogram, this procedure does not require compression of the breasts.
  • The scan table will slide into the scanner. Your upper body will be centered in the scanner. A speaker and microphone in the machine will allow you to communicate with your technologist during the exam. To increase patient comfort, Via Christi Clinic has invested in an open-bore MRI that provides you with extra headroom during this procedure.
  • A series of pictures will be taken during the procedure. Each series lasts only a few minutes. While pictures are being taken, you will hear loud banging noises. This is a normal part of the magnetic resonance imaging process.
  • You will not have to hold your breath while the images are being taken, but it is very important to hold as still as possible while the machine is acquiring images.
  • You may dress and return to your normal activities once the procedure has been completed.

Procedure Results

A Board-Certified Radiologist will interpret the images and send a report to the ordering physician within 2 to 3 days.  Your physician will discuss the results with you.

If you have scheduling questions, please call 316-689-9532.

Download Breast MRI form (PDF)