FAQs: Accelerated Breast MRI
Want to learn more about an Accelerated Breast MRI™, also known as abbreviated breast MRI? Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions:
Is an MRI an Effective Breast Cancer Screening Tool?
An MRI uses radio waves and magnets that generate detailed images of the soft tissues inside the breast. A breast MRI shows greater detail, which helps physicians detect a cancerous tumor that a mammogram may have missed.
A breast MRI is also a radiation-free diagnostic screening, which means pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems can have the exam. Women who have breast implants can also have a breast MRI, since there is no compression involved or risk of ruptured implants.
How Is an Accelerated Breast MRI Different from a Regular Breast MRI?
An Accelerated Breast MRI saves you time and is as effective at detecting breast abnormalities as a traditional breast MRI. Compared to a regular breast MRI that takes approximately 45 minutes, an Accelerated Breast MRI uses a streamlined process that takes only 12 minutes. An Accelerated Breast MRI is also more affordable than a traditional breast MRI and can be paid for with a Health Savings Account.
Who Is a Good Candidate for an Accelerated Breast MRI?
Women who are at moderate to high risk for breast cancer or women with dense breast tissue should consider having an Accelerated Breast MRI. Those who do not meet the lifetime risk level for a full conventional breast MRI may also benefit from an Accelerated Breast MRI. However, any woman who wants reassurance about her breast health should consider having regular Accelerated Breast MRI exams in conjunction with their mammograms.
Is a Breast MRI Better than a Mammogram?
A breast MRI is more sensitive for detecting carcinoma. Cancers are easier to spot and diagnose because of the use of an injected contrast agent before the test. Yearly mammograms are effective, but in some cases, a breast MRI can be a great supplemental tool to your mammogram.
The recommended screening for women at high-risk for breast cancer is an Accelerated Breast MRI alongside their yearly mammogram, beginning at age 30, according to the American Cancer Society.
How Do I Prepare for the Exam?
About a week prior to your appointment, a provider will call you and answer any questions you may have about the exam. They will give any additional instructions you need to know before your scan.
Bring a copy of all prior mammography reports to give to your radiologist at your appointment. This will help them detect any changes in your breast tissue from previous scans. On the day of your exam, avoid wearing anything metallic, such as jewelry, hair clips or piercings. Also, skip wearing deodorant to your appointment. The small amount of aluminum in deodorant can interfere with your scan.
What Can I Expect During the Exam?
Arrive about 15 minutes before your appointment to allow time to complete paperwork and change into a hospital gown. These exams are conducted by an all-female staff. During the exam, you will be given a contrast material called gadolinium, which is injected into a vein in your arm. This helps show any abnormalities in the breast tissue. Your technologist will help you lie on a narrow table in the “superman position,” face down and with both arms positioned above your head. Each breast will be placed comfortably into the dedicated breast coils. Once you are ready, the table will slide into a circular machine, and you’ll be asked to keep as still as possible so the machine can get clear pictures.
Does the Exam Hurt?
Although you may feel awkward in the position, you should feel no pain. Your technologist will be nearby to address any of your concerns and make the scan as easy for you as possible.
How Long Before I Get Results?
Results are sent to you or your referring physician within three business days of the test.
Contact us for any further questions concerning the effectiveness of a breast MRI.