What to expect during your Breast MRI exam? Usually after you’ve had a questionable mammogram, your doctor may recommend that you have a breast mri exam. Not all radiology centers are up to date on how to do the best breast mri exam, so please double check with them by asking the questions we recommend prior to having your breast mri exam. CLICK HERE
What to expect during your Breast MRI exam?
Make sure you read THIS to review the list of required preps for the breast mri before you go as well.
After a thorough mri safety question and answer session, you will be brought into the mri exam room if it has been deemed safe for you to enter. You will change clothes and most likely put on a patient gown, opening in the front. (Hint: Remove all metal and leave your electronics out of the room.)
In most cases, an IV will be started on your arm in one of your veins so that contrast can be administered at a point during your exam. Most often, the right antecubital vein is recommended for consistency of this study, if you end up having the breast mri exam annually. It is NOT possible to perform the exam without contrast (yet), but that day might be coming soon. (Hint: Drink water and hydrate yourself the day before and up to several hours prior to your exam. Do not enter with a full tummy, as most sites do these images prone- on your stomach.)
You will be on a padded table on your tummy, and your breasts will be comfortably placed into a padded antenna coil with spaces for your breasts. (Hint: Avoid caffeine and chocolate, both are stimulants.)
It is VERY VERY important that you hold still during the exam, and just breathe normally. Do not move, or turn your head at all during the scan. You will hear noises from the scanner during the scan, and you should be given ear plugs to help keep the noise down. The entire exam will take close to 30 -40 minutes, pending you hold still.
You should be sure to let the technologist know if you are not comfortable in any way before your exam. They will make every effort to get you as comfortable as possible.
You should not feel any pain during the injection. If you do, be certain to let them know you are experiencing pain during the injection. Sometimes this pain means the IV is not actually threaded into the vein correctly, and in most cases, another IV will need to be started in another vein.
If the patient does not hold still during the exam, often the pictures are not diagnostic and the full exam may need to be repeated. Several series of sequences (pictures) will be performed sequentially so if there is motion between the images, they sometimes will not process properly. Again, we recommend you hold very very still.
This is one image of hundreds taken very quickly during a dynamic breast mri exam. The above slice is 0.7 mm thick. The better facilities will use only very thin axial slices in a 3D format to acquire your breast images dynamically. It is important to ask your imaging center what slice thicknesses they will be using to take your images. (Anything 2mm or less is ideal. If they are using 4 or 5mm thicknesses for the dynamic series, you may want to find a facility that performs thinner slices.)
It is important that you hold very still during your breast mri exam.