Breast MRI is performed using a dedicated breast coil. This center is accredited for breast MRI by the American College of Radiology and all breast studies are interpreted by a group of breast imaging radiologists with specific training in breast MR.
Breast MRI and MR-guided breast biopsy is offered at Baystate MRI & Imaging Center at 80 Wason Avenue, next door to the Baystate Breast & Wellness Center. You will be interviewed and have your study performed by specially trained staff. We will obtain all needed previous imaging studies and reports for comparison.
How MRI Works
Unlike conventional x-ray examinations and computed tomography (CT) scans, MRI does not depend on ionizing radiation. Instead, the MRI machine uses radio waves in a strong magnetic field.
For most MRIs, the machine passes an electric current through wire coils. Other coils, placed in the machine and sometimes placed around the part of the body being imaged, send and receive radio waves, producing signals that the coils detected. A computer then processes the signals and generates a series of images. Each image shows a thin slice of the body. The images can then be studied from different angles.
In most cases, the differences between abnormal (diseased) tissue and healthy tissue is clearer with MRI than with an x-ray, CT or ultrasound.
Preparing For Your MRI Exam
Below you will find general guidelines for MRI however, please note that it is best to call ahead of your exam to ensure you can prepare properly.
- You will be asked to wear a gown so wear clothing that is easy to take on and off
- Please leave any jewelry, watches and other metal accessories at home
- Please do not wear pins, hairpins, metal zippers or other metal items
- Before the exam, please take off any removable dental work, body piercings, eyeglasses and all other metal objects
Before your exam, please let Radiology & Imaging know if you have:
- Allergies of any kind
- Any serious health problems
- Recent surgery
- Any possibility of being pregnant
- Claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces)
- Any medical or electronic devices in your body
- Metal objects used in orthopedic surgery (like an artificial joint)
It is important to tell the technologist about any medical or electronic devices in your body. Those devices may interfere with your exam or they could pose a risk. Here is a partial list of common medical or electronic devices you may have:
- Artificial heart valves
- Implanted drug infusion ports
- Implanted electronic device, including a cardiac pacemaker
- Artificial limbs or metallic joint prostheses
- Implanted nerve stimulators
- Metal pins, screws, plates, stents or surgical staples
In general, metal objects used in orthopedic surgery pose no risk during MRI. However, a recently placed artificial joint may require the use of another imaging procedure. When you and your physician are not certain about what the metal objects that might be inside you, the best course is often an x-ray to identify the objects with certainty.
Dyes used in tattoos may contain iron and could heat up during MRI, but this is rarely a problem. Tooth fillings and braces usually are not affected by the magnetic field but they may distort images of the facial area or brain, so please make Radiology & Imaging aware of them.
What an MRI is Like
Most MRIs are painless, easy and quick. Exams take between 15-45 minutes. The Radiology & Imaging technologist will position you on a moveable examination table. He or she may use straps and bolsters to help you stay still and maintain the correct position during the exam. Small devices capable of sending and receiving radio waves may be placed around or adjacent to the area of your body being studied. The radiologist and technologist will leave the room while the MRI exam is performed. An MRI exam has no effect on the remainder of your day. You can resume your normal daily activities immediately after the exam.
Benefits & Risks
When appropriate safety guidelines are followed, an MRI poses almost no risk. Although the MRI’s strong magnetic field is not harmful in itself, implanted medical devices that contain metal may malfunction or cause problems during an MRI exam.
Limits of MRI
To produce quality results, an MRI requires that you remain perfectly still and sometimes hold your breath while the images are being recorded. People who are anxious, confused or in severe pain, may find it difficult to lie still during imaging. A large person may not fit into the conventional MRI machine. The presence of an implant or other metallic object sometimes makes it difficult to obtain clear images. Although there is no reason to believe that magnetic resonance imaging harms the fetus, pregnant women usually are advised not to have an MRI exam unless medically necessary. MRIs do not always distinguish between cancer tissue and edema fluid. And MRIs typically cost more and take more time to perform than other imaging exams.
We Subspecialize In MRIs Of All Types
Radiology & Imaging’s subspecialized staff includes several radiology physicians who are specifically trained in one or more types of MRIs–brain, spine, body, muscular or other. Their extensive experience in particular types of MRI makes them well equipped to interpret the exam results and consult most effectively with your personal physician.
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