Patient & Visitor InformationContact Us
  • Locations

    Rhode Island Hospital

    APC Building

    Providence, RI 02903


    . . . . . .

    The Miriam Hospital

    164 Summit Avenue

    Providence, RI 02906


  • Breast MRI

  • Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used along with mammograms to screen women for breast cancer. For women who are at high risk, breast MRI helps to examine areas of suspicion, or to help determine the size of a tumor for women who have breast cancer. While a breast MRI can detect tumors, especially in dense breast tissue, it cannot detect early stages of cancer. It should not replace a mammogram as the primary diagnostic test for breast cancer.

    What is breast MRI?

    Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a combination of large magnets and radio frequencies-instead of x-rays-to produce detailed images of the breast. MRI is usually performed with an IV injection of contrast material (dye).

    Who qualifies for breast MRI?

    Breast MRI candidates:

    • have been diagnosed with breast cancer and plan to have surgery.

    • have a suspicious lump or mammogram.

    • have implants, scar tissue or dense breasts that might jeopardize an accurate result from a mammogram.

    • are at high risk for breast cancer due to a genetic factor, previous cancer diagnosis or a strong family history of breast cancer.

    If you have certain conditions you may not be eligible for breast MRI. Let your doctor know if you have any of the following:

    • Heart pacemaker

    • Cerebral aneurysm clip (metal clip on a blood vessel in the brain)

    • Implanted insulin pump, narcotics pump or implanted nerve stimulators (TENS)

    • Metal in the eye or eye socket

    • Cochlear (ear) implant for hearing impairment

    • Implanted spine stabilization rods

    • Severe lung disease

    • Uncontrolled gastroesophageal reflux

    • Claustrophobia

    How is it performed?

    You will be asked to wear a hospital gown for your breast MRI. During the test, you will lie inside a tube that's part of a large machine. As images are taken, the equipment makes thumping and buzzing noises. Breast MRI can take up to one hour to complete. Music/headphones?


    How should I prepare?

    You should leave all jewelry, your watch, wallet and other personal items at home. If you have a hearing aid, you should remove it before the MRI because it can be damaged by the magnetic field.


    How do I get my results?

    Your breast MRI will show if there is an abnormality it your breast, and if it appears to be benign or malignant. If it is malignant, the image will show where the abnormality is located and how big it is. Your doctor will discuss the test results with you.