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Breast MRI is available at this location:
MRI of the breast is not a replacement for mammography or ultrasound imaging, but can help provide more detail in certain cases.
For women at high risk for breast cancer, typically because of a strong family history, MRI may be an appropriate in conjunction with mammography and ultrasound. A strong family history is usually a mother or sister who has had breast cancer before age 50. It can also be aunts or cousins, including those on your father’s side. Relatives who have had ovarian cancer also increase your risk.
Our radiologists, primary care doctor, or your OB/GYN can look at your family history and determine if screening MRI may be appropriate for you. Depending on your family history, genetic counseling may also be recommended.
Additionally, in rare cases an abnormality seen on a mammogram cannot be adequately evaluated by further mammography and ultrasound alone. Sometimes, MRI can be used to definitively determine if the abnormality needs biopsy or can safely be left alone.
Breast MRI After as Breast Cancer Diagnosis
After being diagnosed with breast cancer, a breast MRI may be performed to determine the extent of the cancer. This may include:
- how large the cancer is and whether it involves the underlying muscle.
- if there are other cancers in the same breast and whether there is an unsuspected cancer in the opposite breast.
- if there are any abnormally large lymph nodes in the armpit, which can be a sign the cancer has spread to that site.
Following treatment for breast cancer, scarring and recurrent cancer can look identical on mammography and ultrasound. If a change in a lumpectomy scar is detected by either mammography or a physical exam, MRI can help determine whether the change is normal maturation of the scar or a recurrence of the cancer.
In some cases, breast cancer will be treated with chemotherapy before it has been removed by surgery. This is called neoadjuvant chemotherapy. In these cases, MRI is often used to monitor how well the chemotherapy is working and to reevaluate the amount of tumor still present before the surgery is scheduled.
Breast MRI to Evaluate Breast Implants
MRI is the best test for determining whether silicone implants have ruptured.