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How long does a breast MRI take?

A breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive medical imaging test that can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to complete, depending on the complexity of the exam and whether a contrast agent is used.

Here are some things to keep in mind about the duration of a breast MRI:

  1. Preparation: Before the breast MRI, patients will need to remove any jewelry or metal objects, change into a hospital gown, and lie face down on a table that slides into the MRI machine. The preparation process may take several minutes.

  2. Scanning time: Once the patient is in position, the MRI machine will begin to create images of the breast tissue. The scanning time can range from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the complexity of the exam and the size of the breast being imaged.

  3. Contrast agent: In some cases, a contrast agent may be injected into the patient's vein during the breast MRI to enhance the visibility of the breast tissue. If a contrast agent is used, the procedure may take longer, as the contrast agent needs time to circulate through the body before the imaging can begin.

  4. Total time: The total time for a breast MRI can vary, but most exams take between 30 minutes to an hour to complete. Patients should plan to spend additional time at the imaging center for preparation and post-exam discussions with their healthcare provider.

It's important to note that the duration of a breast MRI can vary based on the individual patient's needs and the complexity of the exam. Patients should speak with their healthcare provider and the imaging center staff to get a more accurate estimate of how long the procedure will take and what to expect during the exam.


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