Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) screening at an Atlantic Health System Cancer Care breast center is easy and painless.
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Scheduling a Breast MRI
- If possible, schedule your exam between days six and 17 of the menstrual cycle (day one is the first day of menses) when breast tissue is unlikely to be swollen by hormonal changes that occur closer to menstruation.
- Obtain the appropriate referrals required by your insurance company prior to the appointment.
- Bring your most recent mammography or ultrasound films with you to the MRI appointment.
During your Breast MRI
- After you change into a hospital gown, a nurse will start an intravenous (IV) in your arm. A contrast agent called gadolinium will be administered through the IV, shortly after the exam begins. The contrast agent is salt-based and generally has no side effects. If you have allergies to certain medications, be sure to tell you doctor before you schedule the MRI.
- Next, you will lie down on your stomach on a flat table that will allow your breasts to hang down through an opening. The table will then slide into the MRI machine. You will be able to look out into the room at all times, and unlike traditional mammograms, you will experience no pain, compression or discomfort.
- The MRI exam takes approximately 25 minutes and the entire appointment should take 45 to 60 minutes. During the exam, you will hear loud banging noises coming from the machine. You may want to bring a portable music player to use during the test to block out some of the noise. The nurse will also offer you earplugs.
After the Breast MRI
- A doctor will review your MRI.
- It may be necessary to have another mammogram or ultrasound test to confirm the MRI results.
Digital Breast Cancer MRI services may vary by location. Please confirm when booking an appointment.