What is a Breast MRI?

Breast MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is an important clinical tool that can revolutionize the way we diagnose, stage, and treat breast cancer.

MRI is a highly sensitive imaging modality that excels in detecting small breast cancers and provides additional information about a suspicious area detected on a physical exam, mammogram or ultrasound.

Radiofrequency waves capture a three dimensional image of the breast after a small injection of an intravenous contrast agent called gadolinium. The gadolinium resides more heavily in areas of the breast with increased blood flow. Malignant tumors exhibit an increased number of blood vessels, and therefore will be enhanced on an MRI. Any suspicious areas can be sampled using a minimally invasive needle biopsy technique performed under MRI guidance.

Liz Feliciano, Breast Imaging Manager
Liz Feliciano, Breast Imaging Manager

Why would I need an MRI?

Breast MRI excels in detecting small breast cancers in women with dense breasts, augmented breasts, and breasts that have undergone breast conservation with radiation therapy. MRI can make a difference in early diagnosis for women at increased risk.

Breast MRI is used routinely for pre-operative staging in women with a known diagnosis of breast cancer who desire breast-conserving surgery and to evaluate for recurrence.

Will I still need a Mammogram?

Mammograms save lives and are typically performed before, and in addition to, an MRI. Although an MRI is a more sensitive test (it’s more likely to detect cancer than a mammogram), it may still miss some cancers that a mammogram would detect.

However unlike mammography, MRI uses no radiation.

What is Abbreviated MRI?

AB-MR offers the superior sensitivity of MRI for breast cancer detection, performed in ten minutes, for a fraction of the price of a traditional breast MRI. This test is recommended for women with a moderate risk of breast cancer (under 20%) who do not meet NCCN Guidelines for insurance-covered MRI.

Breast MRI is the most sensitive test available for breast cancer screening, dramatically outperforming mammography and ultrasound. To date, screening MRI has been restricted to high-risk women. With the advent of AB-MR, widespread screening can be made available at a cost comparable to conventional imaging techniques. AB-MR represents a promising new screening tool and an optimal supplement to mammography for average to intermediate risk women, especially in women with dense breasts.

“A 10-minute MRI for breast cancer screening in women with dense breasts was associated with improved cancer detection compared with digital breast tomosynthesis.” – MedPage, February 2020

  • MRI is the most sensitive test for breast cancer detection, particularly for people with dense breast tissue
  • Fewer images, quicker to read
  • Improvement in cancer detection rate
  • Can replace annual screening ultrasound

“Exceptional care and loved the NEW abbreviated MRI that’s just 10 minutes and a fraction of the cost! As Dr. Elliott says, ‘Everyone needs a breast doctor’ and I am so glad to have her and her team as mine! Schedule YOUR annual examination today!” – Google.com Oct 13, 2019

What can I expect at my MRI appointment?

Your appointment will usually take 30-40 minutes. There is no special preparation needed prior to MRI. You will be able to take your normal medications, except hormone replacement therapy. You will enter the MRI machine feet first, face down.

Please find the necessary MRI forms for your appointment here.

For Breast MRI appointments, questions (including MRI billing) call 862-276-2203 or email Liz at lfeliciano@montclairbreastcenter.com