MRI Breast studies may be done for Screening for Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer Staging or Breast Implant assessment.

Screening

Several women may benefit from a breast MRI. Studies have shown that MRI has a higher sensitivity in detecting breast cancer than other screening methods do.

In particular it is most beneficial in those women at a higher risk of breast cancer, either from family or personal history, genetic risks (BRCA1 and 2 carriers) or past history of atypical cells on a biopsy. There are also some women who have dense breasts where the MMG is more difficult to interpret and where the surrounding normal breast tissue hides the cancers.

Your doctor will discuss your risk factors with you and whether MRI may be beneficial for you. Breast MRI is used as a supplemental form of screening. It does not replace your routine mammograms.

Staging

Your breast surgeon may recommend this study after the diagnosis of breast cancer has been made on Mammogram, Tomosynthesis and Ultrasound, following biopsy.

Not all breast cancers are the same, and they aren’t all treated in the same way, which is why having further testing and getting the most accurate diagnosis is so important. Breast MRI is helpful in determining the size of your breast cancer, how much of the breast is involved and so will assist your surgeon in what type of surgery is best for you and potentially whether you may need additional treatment including radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy.

Implant Assessment

Implant MRI is NOT a cancer study. Implant MRI is the most sensitive test available to assess your implants and any potential complications. The MRI scan assesses the integrity of your breast implants and whether they are ruptured and if there are any potential complications such as change in shape of your implant, fluid around the implant, and if there is silicone within lymph nodes.

The MRI coil does not compress the breast and there is NO risk to the implant during the procedure. There is NO injection of contrast dye.

Before your Scan

When making your appointment for a Breast MRI, our staff will ask you questions about your menstrual cycle.

It is important that this study is done during day 7-14 of your menstrual cycle if you have one, as it is more sensitive for the detection of small cancers in the breast.

This menstrual cycle guide is used for Screening studies but not for Staging studies as results are expedited so you may commence your treatment as soon as possible.

If you no longer have a menstrual cycle or require an urgent Breast MRI for Cancer Staging, our clerical team is trained to accommodate your individual appointment needs.

An Implant MRI requires no preparation.

Day of the scan

When you arrive for your examination, you will be asked to fill out a MRI safety questionnaire and a clinical history form that is used by our Doctors in assessing your individual case. Prior to the examination, our specially trained staff will take you through, explain the examination, discuss any concerns and prepare you for your examination. This process can take up to 15 minutes before you get onto the MRI scanner.

You will lie in the scanner on your front with your arms above your head and your breasts will lay in a special coil, which is not tight like a mammogram. Your breasts need to be in the centre of the magnet and you will go into the magnet feet first. The scan is noisy, so you will be given headphones with music and a buzzer to press if you want to talk to the technologist at any time.

It is important that you lie still.

Please advise our staff if you suffer from claustrophobia, as this may affect your ability to keep still and we may be able to arrange a muscle relaxant for you prior to your appointment to assist in coping with the scan.

Breast MRI involves the use of a contrast dye (Gadovist), which is administered through a needle (intravenous cannula) placed in your arm. This is not necessary for Implant scans.

Duration

The entire process (preparation and imaging) can take 30-45mins.