MRI of the Breast

Please report to Admitting 30 minutes before your scheduled exam time.

PREP: Try to schedule your exam between the 5th and 10th day after the first day of your last menstrual cycle. Also if you are on hormone replacement therapy you be asked to stop taking it 6 weeks prior to your exam with your physician's approval.

PURPOSE: Breast MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a diagnostic tool used primarily to supplement mammography when evaluating breast problems. MRI uses a powerful magnet and radio-frequency to take cross-sectional images of your body in any plane. There is no ionizing radiation involved and MRI's are considered safe, with no known biological side effects. Because of the powerful magnetic field which is always present, you will be screened for any metal which you might have within your body from surgeries, as well as metal objects or jewelry you may be wearing. All metal objects are removed if possible before entering the magnet room. You will be given a gown to change into. A locker will be provided for your belongings.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Once the exam starts you will lie on an exam table on your stomach. The technologist will make you as comfortable as possible. The table will move into a tunnel that is about 5 feet long. Both ends are open the entire time and a light and fan help make you more comfortable. If you are claustrophobic inform your doctor. You will have a call button to contact the tech and will be observed the entire time. You will be asked to remain motionless during the scan, as the MRI scanner is very sensitive to patient movement.

The total scan time will usually take 30 to 45 minutes, but may take more or less time. An injection of a contrast agent called Gadolinium may be ordered for your MRI. If ordered, it will be injected into your arm or hand. It will help the Radiologist (the doctor who interprets your MRI) to make an accurate diagnosis. The contrast has no side effects and reactions are rare. It is different from the contrast used with x-ray exams.

POST EXAM INFORMATION: After the MRI is completed you will be ready to go. You will need a driver if you took sedatives for claustrophobia. Your MRI will be reviewed by the Radiologist and your personal physician will receive a report of the findings. Your physician will discuss the results of the MRI with you.

TIME FRAME: 45-60 minutes.

WHERE TO GO: You can enter through the patient services/admitting entrance, door number 17, from 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. After 6 p.m. you can enter through the Emergency Walk-In Entrance, door 18. Both doors are on the northeast side of St. Alexius, near 10th St. and Rosser Ave. There is free parking in the lot at 10th and Rosser. Once inside, check in at Information/Admitting or the Emergency Desk (after 6 p.m.).

For additional information: Call St. Alexius MRI Department at (701) 530-5298 or the St. Alexius Radiology Department at (701) 530-5301 or 1-800-732-1142.