Breast MRI

Breast MRI is another imagine technique to evaluate the breast tissue.  This examination is used for specific indications such as high risk screening  (https://cancercare.on.ca), pre-operative staging in patients with known cancer as well as to evaluate findings that are inconclusive on mammogram and ultrasound. This test is available at the Oakville site of Halton Healthcare Services.

MRI uses magnetic fields to create high resolution images. No radiation is used in this technology.  In most cases of breast MRI, intravenous contrast or dye is required.  Some people may not be able to undergo breast MRI due to the presence of implanted medical devices such as a pacemaker , or claustrophobia.  As well, some patients may not be able to have the intravenous dye required due to allergies or medical issues such as kidney disease.

When you undergo breast MRI, you will be lying on your stomach.  The breasts will be positioned in mild compression to stabilize the breast tissue and to help make high quality images.  The MRI machine is a long tube and some people may feel claustrophobic inside the MRI machine.  If you suffer from claustrophobia, please discuss this with your doctor as you may require sedation to do this exam.  Your doctor can write a prescription for sedation for you if needed.  We do not have sedation available in the department and your test may have to be re-scheduled if you cannot tolerate the exam without sedation.

MRI  uses strong magnets, therefore it is essential that you remove anything metal — jewelry, snaps, belts, earrings, zippers, etc. — before the test. The technologist also will ask you if you have any metal implanted in your body, such as a pacemaker or artificial joint.