Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic test that uses a powerful magnet, radio waves, and a computer to create detailed images of the breast tissue. It is a non-invasive procedure that allows doctors to see detailed images of the breast, including areas that may not be visible on a mammogram or ultrasound.
During a breast MRI, a patient lies on a table that slides into a tunnel-like machine. The machine contains a powerful magnet that produces a magnetic field around the breast. Radio waves are then sent through the breast tissue, causing the atoms in the tissue to produce signals. These signals are picked up by the machine and used to create detailed images of the breast tissue.
Breast MRI is often used as a follow-up test for women who have had an abnormal mammogram or ultrasound, or who are at high risk for breast cancer. It can also be used to detect breast cancer in women who have dense breast tissue, which can be difficult to see on a mammogram.
Breast MRI is typically done in addition to mammography and/or ultrasound, and is not a replacement for these tests. It is important to note that while breast MRI is highly sensitive, it is not always specific, meaning that it can sometimes detect abnormalities that turn out not to be cancer. Therefore, breast MRI is typically used in conjunction with other tests to confirm a diagnosis.
Breast MRI is a safe procedure, although some patients may experience claustrophobia while inside the machine. In addition, contrast dye may be used during a breast MRI, which can cause some patients to experience a warm sensation or feel like they need to urinate.
Overall, breast MRI is a valuable tool for detecting breast cancer and other breast abnormalities. It is typically done in conjunction with other imaging tests, and can provide doctors with a more complete picture of the breast tissue.