Breast MRI Used to Detect Breast Cancer in Baltimore

Women's Imaging at Mercy

Breast MRI is a very sensitive tool for the detection of breast cancer. The radiologists of The Tyanna O’Brien Center for Women’s Imaging at Mercy in Baltimore, Maryland offer breast MRI to women as a method of detecting and evaluating breast cancers.

What is Breast MRI?

Breast MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is an imaging technique that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to make computer images of internal body organs. This method of testing is used as a complimentary tool to mammography and gives a deeper picture of the breast tissue. MRIs are often used in detecting and staging breast cancer. MRIs also are used to monitor a patient’s response to chemotherapy.

NEXT: Who should have a Breast MRI? ›
Who should have a Breast MRI?

MRI of the breast is considered the most sensitive imaging tool for the detection of breast cancer. There are very specific indications for the use of breast MRI, which include the following:

  • In patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer to evaluate the extent of disease in the involved breast and to screen the other breast.
  • Evaluation of patients who had recent surgery to remove cancer and the surgical margins were positive for cancer - MRI may help determine if re-excision lumpectomy is possible.
  • Screening of asymptomatic patients who are considered “high-risk” for breast cancer because of: 
    • Personal/family history of BRCA gene mutation
    • Strong family history or other factors giving them an estimated lifetime risk of breast cancer of more than 20 percent
    • Personal history of radiation therapy to the chest between the ages of 10-30
  • Patients diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer (usually in an underarm lymph node) who have no visible cancer in the breast on mammography or ultrasound
  • Patients who have difficult/equivocal mammography or breast ultrasound results for problem solving - MRI is recommended only very rarely in this case
NEXT: How is a Breast MRI performed? ›
How is a Breast MRI performed?

An MRI exam typically lasts 30+ minutes and is completed by lying on your stomach on the scanning table. The breasts are suspended in a cushioned depression in the scanning table. You will be asked to lie still for the duration of the test. A breast MRI generates approximately 2,500 images, which may require a significant amount of time for the doctor to interpret the results of each image.

All MRI studies at Mercy are interpreted in conjunction with your recent mammography and breast ultrasound studies. MRI is not highly specific. This means that the MRI can show areas of abnormal enhancement which are benign (not cancer). Additional imaging such as diagnostic mammography, ultrasound and sometimes biopsy may be required to determine if a finding on the MRI is cancerous or benign.