XRA Medical Imaging is accredited by the American College of Radiology in Rhode Island. Find information regarding our breast MRI service below, and our office locations where a breast MRI can be performed.
Breast cancer is second only to skin cancer as the most commonly-seen type of cancer in women and is the second deadliest cancer in women after lung cancer. It is estimated that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.
Breast MRI is becoming more commonly performed and is primarily used for determining extent of disease, monitoring response to therapy in breast cancer patients, and screening high-risk patients.
Clinical research has shown that breast MRI can be highly sensitive in its ability to detect invasive breast cancer. Unlike other breast imaging modalities, which look at physical characteristics of breast tissue only, MRI is also able to study how breast tissue behaves. Malignant tissue tends to absorb an intravenously administered contrast agent at a higher rate than surrounding tissue, due to tumor angiogenesis.
Breast MRI images are among the most sensitive for detection of invasive breast carcinoma. Extensive and ongoing research continues to expand the indications for this imaging procedure.
Just like other MRI tests, breast MRI is performed in an MRI machine which uses magnetic and radio waves to take internal images of the patient's breasts. The patient lies face down on the table and the breasts fit into a specially padded magnetic coil that allows the breasts to be scanned while keeping the patient as comfortable as possible. The scanning table then slides into the MRI machine so the exam can begin.
A contrast agent is injected into the patient’s veins through an intravenous line to enhance the appearance of tissues and blood vessels in the breast MRI images. During the exam, patients are within view of the technologist and both the technologist and patient are able to communicate with each other through an intercom system. The entire procedure takes approximately 60 minutes.
Every breast MRI study at XRA Medical Imaging is processed with CADstream, a computer-aided detection system, to assist our Radiologists in analyzing and interpreting all breast MRI studies.
An MRI-guided biopsy of the breast is a minimally-invasive outpatient procedure that establishes a precise diagnosis of a breast problem without the need for a surgical biopsy. MRI technology is utilized to localize the abnormality if it is not seen with a mammogram or with ultrasound. The procedure allows our radiologist to remove a small amount of breast tissue, which is then sent to a pathologist to make a definitive diagnosis.
If you received your annual mammogram and your doctor feels there is a mass or lump that requires further inspection and having an ultrasound or performing another mammogram will not suffice, they may find breast MRI to be your most suitable option. Breast MRI is also utilized in patients whose previous mammograms have found their breast tissue is dense and requires further inspection to ensure no cancer currently exists.
If you are a patient who has been diagnosed with breast cancer and your physician would like to determine the extent of the cancer, or if your doctor would like to monitor your existing breast cancer, breast MRI is a useful way to do so.
Doctors whose patients who received chest radiation for Hodgkin's disease before age 30 or who are finding changes in the breast, a mass, or a lump after radiation may refer their patients for a breast MRI.
Doctors who suspect their patient with breast implants may be experiencing a leak or rupture of their implant may send the patient for a breast MRI to rule these possibilities out.
For more information on breast MRI and the clinical indications for women at a higher risk for breast cancer, please click here.
Due to hormonal changes in the body, breast MRI is best performed between days 7-14 of the menstrual cycle and hormone replacement therapy should be discontinued for three months prior to performing the breast MRI. Except in the case of prior mastectomy, all studies are performed on both breasts.
Before a lumpectomy is performed on the breast, patients with BIRADS cat 5 lesions or patients with biopsy-proven breast carcinoma should be imaged. Prior breast imaging studies will be needed for correlation in order to finalize the breast MRI interpretation.
If a patient is post-treatment (surgery, radiation, or chemo), the breast MRI should be delayed as long as possible to minimize confounding treatment-related changes.