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Breast MRI Houston TX

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses magnetic field and pulses of radio waves to make pictures of the breast. MRI may show changes in breast tissue that cannot be seen on an X-ray, ultrasound or CT scan. The MRI records pictures that show your breast's structure; tissue damage or disease, such as infection, inflammation or lump.

Why is it done?

An MRI of the breast is done to:

  • Check breast lumps found during a physical examination, ultrasound or mammography
  • Check women with dense breast tissue or a strong family history of cancer
  • Determine the stage of breast cancer so the best treatment can be chosen
  • Look at breast tissue changes during treatment for breast cancer
  • Check inverted nipples for any sign of breast cancer
  • Find a breast implant rupture
  • Plan a surgical procedure when a patient has a positive biopsy result

How is it done?

The technologist will ask you a series of screening questions, because certain medical conditions may prevent you from having the exam. For example, if your examination is for cancer, it must be scheduled seven to 14 days after the onset of your menstrual cycle. Other factors that may rule out an MRI include ongoing hormone therapy, the use of a pacemaker, aneurysm clips or metal fragments in one or both eyes.

The exam requires you to change into a gown and scrub pants in order to ensure your safety in the MRI. Once inside the MRI, you will be asked to lie on your stomach on a coil that has openings for your breasts to hang freely. Your arms will be positioned above your head. You may also be connected to a special IV if contrast material is to be injected during the scan.

You will be given an emergency ball to hold. If you feel nervous or claustrophobic, a simple squeeze will alert the technologist and your exam can be stopped immediately. You will hear knocking sounds during the exam. For your safety you will be given earplugs and a headset.

Headphones with music will be given for some exams if they will not interfere with the test. It is very important to hold completely still during the exam. Otherwise, repeat scans may be needed.

How does it feel?

The table you lie on may be hard and the room cool, but you will not have any pain from the magnetic field or radio waves used for the MRI test. Your MRI test usually takes 30 to 60 minutes.

What to think about:

  • Some studies show that a breast MRI may be a good choice for young women with a specific breast cancer gene (BRCA) change that puts them at high risk for breast cancer.
  • An MRI may be more likely than other tests to report a problem in the breast when a problem is not there - a false-positive.
  • While MRI is a safe and valuable test, it does not replace mammograms and ultrasounds; it complements them, and is more costly.

What happens after the test?

A radiologist will interpret your exam. The technologist who administers the test cannot interpret or discuss what they are viewing while performing the exam. A report will be sent to your physician's office to discuss results.

Make an Appointment

Make an appointment at a Memorial Hermann Breast Care Center or Memorial Hermann Imaging Center located throughout the Houston area at (877) 704-8700.

Please note the following: If your mammogram and ultrasound were completed at a facility outside of Memorial Hermann, you must bring the outside images and reports to your MRI exam. The radiologist will need these images to compare to your MRI exam.