Your healthcare provider has recommended you for a non-invasive Breast MRI to be taken in the Treasure Valley. MRI offers valuable information about many breast conditions that cannot be obtained by other imaging modalities, such as mammography or ultrasound.
Please note that MRI of the breast is not a replacement for mammography or ultrasound imaging but rather a supplemental tool that has many important uses. Our team of sub-specialized physicians utilizes it for the following:
- Screening in women at high risk for breast cancer
- Determining the extent of cancer after a new diagnosis of breast cancer
- Evaluating hard to asses abnormalities seen on a previous mammogram
- Evaluating lumpectomy sites in the years following breast cancer treatment
- Following certain chemotherapy treatments in patients
- Evaluating breast implants
For optimal image quality, your Breast MRI should be scheduled seven to ten days after the first day of your menstrual cycle. If you are on hormone replacement therapy or BCP, consult your healthcare provider about discontinuing the therapy for one month before the study.
This exam does not use any ionizing radiation, but does involve the use of a “high field” magnet and radio frequency.
Before Arriving for Your Exam
We encourage patients to utilize the IMI online registration option where you will be able to complete the MRI Screening Questionnaire and the MRI Pregnancy form (if applicable) before you come to one of our offices in Boise or Meridian. This will help speed up your registration process.
If you are claustrophobic (fearful of small, enclosed areas) or experience pain when lying on your front for more than 30 minutes, your referring physician may prescribe a relaxant or pain medication to help you through the exam. Please let the IMI Team know of any concerns upon scheduling your appointment, so we can make certain you have what you need to complete your exam successfully.
- We don’t anticipate a long wait time, however we want to make any waiting time as pleasant as possible. Consider bringing your favorite magazine, book or music with headphones to help you pass the time.
- Unless you are told otherwise, take all additional regular medications as usual.
- Please leave your jewelry and valuables at home.
- You will be asked to wear a gown and scrub bottoms during the exam.
Please tell the technologist, radiology nurse and/or radiologist of any allergies you may have and if you are pregnant or nursing.
You will be asked to fill out a questionnaire which will determine if an MRI is safe for you. People with various implants (usually metallic), body piercings or with metal in their bodies (including some tattoos) may have difficulty with an MRI – which utilizes a strong magnetic field. The imaging physician needs to be informed of any of these potential problems.
You will be asked questions that verify the MRI contrast (gadolinium) is safe for you. If you have had a history of kidney disease, we may require a blood test to ensure that you can safely be given gadolinium.
An IV will be started in the event contrast is to be utilized.
You will get a thorough explanation of the procedure and the radiologist will answer any questions you may have before you are asked to sign a consent for the exam.
During the Exam
An MRI machine consists of a large cylinder shaped tube with a moveable table that slides into the center of the machine. For this exam, you will be asked to lie face down on the scanning table with your breast in a special device known as a coil. The coil is used to improve image quality and is designed for optimal patient comfort. You will rest your forehead on a headrest, and your arms will rest above your head.
The scanning table will slide your whole body into the magnet. Breast imaging is very sensitive to motion and even the slightest movement may cause inaccurate findings. It is very important that you make your self comfortable and lay motionless until the exam is complete. During the scan, you will not feel anything, but will hear intermittent humming, thumping, clicking and knocking sounds. Headphones will be provided to help mask the noise and to allow you to listen to music.
If contrast is used, the contrast agent (gadolinium) is injected into a vein in the arm, which may cause a cool sensation.
The technologist is always able to see and hear you during the exam.
After Your Exam
There are no restrictions placed upon you. You may eat or drive as normal. It is only necessary to have a driver if your referring doctor prescribed sedation medication for this exam.
Your images will be examined by a radiologist and their report will be sent to your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will review the results with you.