Women's Services

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Exam Preparations

Breast MRI

What should I expect?

Prepare to arrive 30 minutes before your appointment time. The entire appointment will take 45 minutes to an hour. This exam should be scheduled 7-10 days after the start of your menstrual cycle. Correct timing is important to minimize false positive findings that can occur due to hormonal influence on the breast tissue. If you suffer from minor claustrophobia or anxiety, you may want to ask your physician for a mild sedative. If you take a sedative, you will need to have a driver to take you home. Do not take the sedative until you have signed your paperwork. A Breast MRI does not require your breasts to be compressed, so you should not experience discomfort. When you arrive you will be asked to complete paperwork regarding your history and symptoms. We will escort you into a private dressing room where you can change into a gown and remove all jewelry, since these items contain metal, which disturbs MRI signals.

A technologist will position you for the scan. During the exam, you will lie on your stomach with your arms up over your head and you will enter the machine head first. Avoid eating a large meal prior to the exam. Most patients receive an injection of contrast material called gadolinium during the exam through an intravenous injection. A small intravenous catheter will be placed in your hand or arm. The injection of contrast material is necessary if the MRI is being performed for the diagnosis of breast cancer. It is sometimes not necessary if the sole intent of the study is to evaluate silicone breast implants. Adverse reactions to gadolinium are rare. You will be asked to lie very still, relax and breathe normally. There are typically no side effects during or after MRI, so you can resume normal activities as soon as your exam is over.

It is very important that any prior breast studies (mammograms, ultrasound or MRI) be made available to the radiologist for comparison during the interpretation of your MRI scan. If you have had these at a facility other than the St. Vincent Breast Center, please bring them with you on the day of your appointment.

If you have any of the items listed below, please call 501-686-2650 so we can make arrangements for you before your appointment. Many of these items are contraindications to having an MRI as they are not compatible with the magnetic field present around all MRI machines.

  • Cardiac Pacemaker
  • Artificial heart valve prostheses
  • Aneurysm clips
  • Eye implants or metal ear implants or any metal implants activated electronically, magnetically or mechanically
  • Copper 7 IUD
  • Shrapnel or non-removed bullet
  • Pregnancy
  • Weight over 350 lbs
  • Claustrophobia
  • Any metal puncture(s) or fragment(s) in eye

When will I receive results?

After your exam, a radiologist specialized in MRI will review your images and a report will be faxed directly to your physician.

Radiology Associates, P.A.

Doctors Building
500 South University
Little Rock, AR 72205

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