Breast MRI

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses an exceptionally strong magnet, radio frequency waves and a sophisticated computer to generate detailed images of the body.

  • WHAT IS AN MRI

    On average, 50 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer every day. Although the number of women and men being diagnosed is Australia is increasing, the number of deaths from breast cancer is decreasing. Breast MRI is an extremely sensitive, non-invasive, medical imaging examination used for detection of breast cancer and other breast abnormalities. It can also be used to examine the extent of breast cancer after a diagnosis has been made following a mammogram, ultrasound and/or biopsy. The quality of images produced by MRI of breast tissue is outstanding. MRI makes it easy to take additional images of the muscle and chest wall around your breast to provide a more comprehensive diagnosis.

    Breast MRI can be beneficial in detecting breast cancer in high-risk women with a strong family history or a past history of breast cancer, or who are carrying a genetic predisposition to breast cancer.

    When examining breast implants, mammography and ultrasound may not penetrate saline or silicone well enough to view the implants or surrounding breast tissue. In contrast, MRI may offer clearer images of both implants and breast tissue. This makes MRI an excellent imaging modality to assess breast implant integrity and potentially detect small ruptures or leaks.

  • BEFORE BREAST MRI

    You will require a referral from your doctor prior to making an appointment for a breast MRI.
    This exam is to be booked between days 6-16 of your menstrual cycle (if you still have cycles). Do not be concerned if you have an irregular cycle we will still make an appointment that best fits your current cycle.

    On arrival to your appointment our MRI technologist will explain the examination in detail and check your contraindication questionnaire. Once this has been checked by the MRI technologist and you are safe to have a MRI scan, they will prepare you for the scan by inserting an IV cannula for the MRI contrast to be injected during this test. For most breast MRI scans, an injection of a gadolinium-based contrast solution into your arm vein will be required. This is to enhance the detail of the images produced. MRI scans to assess implant rupture will not require this injection. You will be asked to change into a patient gown.

    At The Women’s Imaging Centre, we accept Breast MRI referrals from medical specialists and GP’s, however not all Breast MRI examinations attract a Medicare rebate.   Our MRI Bookings staff can discuss your options regarding whether a Medicare rebate is available for your scan, at the time of booking.  Please contact them on 1300 197 297 for bookings.

  • DURING A BREAST MRI

    The scans are taken as you lay on your stomach and your chest will move into the centre of the MRI scanner. It is very important that you remain perfectly still while the images are being acquired and breath gently to minimise any motion of the breasts. The switching of the magnet creates a muffled thumping sound, so the patient will be given hearing protection, which must be worn during the scan. Throughout the scan, the radiographer will maintain visual and voice contact with the patient.

    After an initial series of scans, the contrast material will be injected through the IV cannula. It is normal to feel coolness and a flushing sensation for a minute or two when the contrast is been injected. Additional series of images will be taken during or following the injection.
    It will take 30 to 45 minutes to complete an MRI of your breasts.

    MRI is painless and the patient will not feel any after effects, so you can resume normal activity straight away.

  • AFTER A BREAST MRI

    There are no known risks from having a breast MRI. After the MRI examination you should be able to resume your normal activities immediately.
    A radiologist specialised in breast imaging will interpret your MRI scans and provide a comprehensive report on the findings to your doctor. It is very important you book a timely follow-up appointment to discuss your results.

  • PATIENT SAFETY

    No X-rays or ionising radiation is used during an MRI. The magnetic field and radiofrequency waves have not been shown to cause any long-term effects.

    If you are pregnant or have reason to believe you may be, please inform your doctor and our staff at the time of booking. Patients with cardiac pacemakers, metal heart valves, some ear implants, certain brain aneurysm clips and various other medically implanted devices may not be able to have an MRI because the metal or electronics will respond to the strong magnetic field. We may require further information on certain devices to determine their compatibility in the MRI environment. Also, people with metallic foreign bodies in their eyes, through grinding or welding, may be excluded from MRI.  An X-ray of the eyes may be required to clear the eyes of any metal fragments.

Make an appointment online or call our dedicated bookings line