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Breast MRI

 

Just the facts...

Breast MRI Brochure

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Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI is a specialized imaging technique that is helpful in diagnosing different types of health problems, including breast cancer. This type of study is very safe, as it does not employ the use of any harmful radiation; rather, it utilizes a very powerful magnet, state-of-the-art computer and radio frequency waves (similar to AM/FM radio waves) to produce very detailed images of your body.

How does a breast MRI differ from a mammogram?

Breast MRI is not meant to replace the mammogram; rather, it is utilized as an adjunct to the more traditional imaging modalities. Mammograms use X-rays to generate images of the breast tissue in order to search for cancer. MRI, on the other hand, uses no X-rays, thereby creating a safer form of imaging, free of radiation exposure.

Breast MRI is a non-invasive procedure where the breast is not flattened as in a mammogram. MRI of the breast does require an intravenous injection of a contrast agent which helps to enhance any abnormalities that may exist in the breast. Each MRI exam will produce hundreds of images in various planes which are then sent to a separate computer for data analysis. A specially trained radiologist will provide a professional interpretation which will be forwarded directly to your physician for follow-up.

MRIs are better at showing increased or abnormal blood flow in the breast, which could be a sign of early cancers that are invisible on a mammogram. In addition, MRIs are superior to mammograms at detecting cancer in women with dense, non-fatty breasts.

Who is a candidate for a Breast MRI?

The American Cancer Society recommends that the following classifications of women have an annual breast MRI, in addition to mammography:

  • Any woman who has BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation.
  • Those women with a first-degree relative who has BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.
  • Those who have received radiation treatment to the chest between the ages of 10 and 30, such as for Hodgkin's disease.
  • Women who have a 20%-25% lifetime risk of breast cancer, based on factors such as a family history of the disease.
  • Women with a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer.

Additional uses:

  • Staging of newly diagnosed breast cancer.
  • Pre-operative planning prior to breast cancer.
  • Equivocal mammogram due to high density breast tissue or prominent cystic characteristics.
  • Evaluation of breast implants for possible rupture.

Are mammograms still necessary?

Yes! Mammograms still play a very important role in screening women for breast cancer. The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that for high-risk patients, the combination of yearly mammograms and breast MRI examinations should begin at age 30. In addition, women at average risk for breast cancer should have annual mammograms starting at age 40. The ACS also suggests that you consult with your physician, as he/she may think it is better to begin at a different age.

What do I need to do prior to having a Breast MRI?

You should first discuss this test and your concerns with your personal physician. If it is decided it would be in your best interest to have an MRI, then your physician will refer you for the exam. Please be aware that some exams are not covered by your insurance, so check with your individual health insurer.

Who will perform the MRI, and how should I dress?

Your breast MRI at Drs. Hill & Thomas Co. will be performed by registered technologists. A female technologist will assist you in proper body positioning within the specially designed coil, while a second technologist in a separate room will run the scanner. You will be asked to remove all articles of clothing worn on your upper body, and you will be given a gown in which to change. The gown will allow for maximum privacy, while still permitting optimal imaging capabilities.

We understand the sensitive nature of this exam, and insure you that a female technologist will always be present to assist throughout the entire process.

Breast MRI Process
Figure 1:
Breast MRI Coil
Breast MRI Process
Figure 2:
Actual positioning for Breast MRI

Where can I have a Breast MRI?

Drs. Hill & Thomas Co. owns and operates outpatient facilities which have been accredited by the American College of Radiology. We have been the leader in providing medical imaging services throughout the area for over 100 years, and we have the latest technology available for Breast MRI. In addition, our specially trained, local radiologists will interpret your images and then notify your physician of the findings. We currently have two locations where Breast MRI is offered:

Drs. Hill & Thomas Co. Eastside Imaging Center
2785 SOM Center Road
Willoughby Hills, Ohio 44094
(440) 944-8887
Drs. Hill & Thomas Co. Westside Imaging Center
5260 Smith Road
Brook Park, Ohio 44142
(216) 267-8080

Contact Drs. Hill & Thomas Co. for more information about Breast MRIs and other patient services.

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