Breast MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) provides women who are at high risk for breast cancer with an alternative to mammograms. Breast MRI is a technology does not use radiation during the imaging procedure and can detect cancers not revealed by mammograms and ultrasound tests. Women with dense breast tissue are also ideal candidates for breast MRI as this technology provides a better image to help identify abnormalities which are more difficult to see on a regular mammogram.
Named as one of the first Breast Imaging Centers of Excellence by the American College of Radiology and accredited in Breast MRI, we offer our patients specialized expertise in radiology and meet or exceed rigorous standards of breast imaging care. This means you can get the advanced level of diagnostic imaging and breast care you need - right here at Vermont's only academic medical center.
Breast MRI: What You Need to Know
A breast MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) uses magnets and radio waves to produce detailed, cross-sectional images of the breast. There is no radiation with this breast imaging technique.
This test is recommended annually by the American Cancer Society for supplementary screening (in addition to mammography) if you are at high-risk (estimated lifetime risk of 20-25% or greater) for breast cancer.
Breast MRI is also performed for those patients with a new diagnosis of breast cancer to evaluate extent of disease and to solve problems or questions raised on conventional mammograms or ultrasound imaging.
The Latest Imaging Technology for Breast MRI
A breast MRI is performed on special equipment designed for this particular test. The UVM Medical Center offers Breast MRI on a 3.0 Tesla magnet, which produces the most detailed images in the shortest exam time. We are accredited by the American College of Radiology for Breast MRI. This means our equipment, personnel and interpreting radiologists meet the highest standards. You can be assured of the quality of the exam and its interpretation and that we can provide an MRI guided biopsy if one is needed.
Our radiology technologists are experienced in breast imaging and will make you as comfortable as possible. Prior to the procedure, you will receive a call from one of our staff with information and answers to any questions. After the test, you will be notified of the results by telephone within a few days. You will receive a call from one of our staff before the procedure; to provide information about the test and answer any questions.
What to Expect During a Breast MRI
- Prior to your exam, you can eat and drink normally.
- You will need to take off clothes with metal parts, jewelry and anything else made of metal.
- You may need to have an IV, which will be used to inject contrast dye. This helps highlight the structures of the breast.
- You will need to lie still during the procedure, which takes about 20-30 minutes.
- During the procedure, you will hear loud noises.
Breast Imaging for High Risk Women
Your risk for breast cancer can be determined by your doctor based on your family history, past radiation therapy, breast density and other factors. Women who have a breast cancer gene mutation (known as a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation) are at greatly increased risk for breast cancer. Breast MRI offers an alternative to mammography for high risk women and does not involve any radiation exposure.
For more information about genetics and cancer, contact the UVM Cancer Center's Familial Cancer program and genetic coordinator at 802-847-1328.
Where Can I Get a Breast MRI?
The UVM Medical Center offers breast MRI as an outpatient radiology service located at the Medical Center Campus in Burlington. Get directions to the UVM Medical Center Medical Center Main Campus.
Talk to your doctor about your breast cancer risk or breast imaging options.
Already had a Breast MRI? We can provide consultations on images taken elsewhere.