Preparing for Your Breast MRI

What Is It Like to Get a Breast MRI?

MRI scans are usually done in an outpatient setting in a hospital or clinic.

We advise you arrive 45 minutes prior to your scheduled MRI appointment to allow for the Registration process. You will then be sent to the ground floor were the Radiology Support Staff will enter your orders, give you an MRI screening sheet and alert the MRI technologists you have arrived.

You will be asked to fill out an MRI screening sheet that asks you several questions; this is to ensure MRI magnet safety. When you arrive for your appointment our technologists will review the screening sheet with you in person, again this is to make sure we screen for MRI compatibility and safety. The magnet in MRI is always on the screening process ensures patient and technologist safety.

You will be positioned for your breast MRI by a female MRI certified technologist.

Things to Know for the Day of the Procedure

  • Come 30 minutes prior to your appointment time to Outpatient Registration
  • Bring your insurance card and photo ID and prescription for MRI
  • You are able to drive yourself for your appointment unless you are being medicated for your MRI.
  • Bring a list of all of your medications
  • You may drink and eat in your normal morning routine

What to Expect Before a Breast MRI

You will have an IV line placed in your arm so that contrast material can be injected during your test.

You can eat prior to the exam and there are no limitations on what you can eat. We advise you drink water the day before your test and hydrate prior to your appointment, proper hydration assists us in finding your veins.

If you know finding a vein in your arms is challenging please call the MRI department 24 hours prior to appointment. We can be reached at 732-557-8000 extension 12310.

What to Expect During a Breast MRI

You will lie face down on a narrow, flat table with your arms above your head. The technologists may use pillows to make you comfortable and to help you to not move. Your breasts will hang down into an opening in the table so they can be scanned without being compressed. Once the technologist has positioned the table, they will slide the table into a long narrow tube.

If you are claustrophobic or have challenges inside of close spaces please reach out to your ordering physician in advance of your scheduled appointment. Your physician will evaluate and discuss how best to proceed.

The test is painless but you have to remain inside the MRI machine. Your technologists will be able to hear you and they will speak with you during the scan. They will remind you to remain still and communicate with you. You will be given a ball that you can squeeze which alerts the technologists that there is an emergency.

During your scan, the MRI unit will make various noises and this is all part of the normal imaging process. Your technologist will provide you with two forms of hearing protection; you will receive earplugs and MRI compatible headphones to listen to music of your choice.

MRI uses a contrast agent known as gadolinium, this is injected through the IV we inserted at the beginning of the exam. The gadolinium helps the radiologist to see your breast tissue and allows them to see if there are any areas of abnormality. This is different from contrast that is utilized in CAT scan, if you have any known allergies or have had issues with contrast dye in the past please alert your ordering physician as well your technologist.

The duration of the exam from the time we begin scanning to the last image is approximately 30 minutes. After the last set of images are acquired, you may be asked to wait while our technologist check to ensure we have all the images we need for your exam.

We look forward to seeing you for your MRI appointment and hope this has answered some of your questions regarding the procedure.

Any questions, please call Megan Criscione at 732-557-3328.

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