Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses a strong magnetic field to image the breast. An MRI is not a replacement for mammography or ultrasound imaging, but rather a supplemental tool for detecting and staging breast cancer and evaluating other breast abnormalities.
Breast MRI is performed at the Vail Valley Medical Center MRI department. For a breast MRI that is performed to detect cancer, an IV line is inserted, and contrast dye is injected to help visualize the breast tissue. The patient will lie on his/her stomach, and both breasts will hang into a breast coil when the patient enters the MRI machine. The technologist will leave the room, and a series of images will be taken. As the images are taken, the MRI unit will make various noises. Patients can expect the exam to last about one hour. Breast MRI is painless; however, many people experience claustrophobia. If you need to be sedated, please speak with your care provider prior to arriving at the MRI department.