MRI Breast studies may be done for Screening for Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer Staging or Breast Implant assessment.


Some women may benefit from a breast MRI. Studies have shown that MRI has a higher sensitivity in detecting breast cancer than other screening methods do.

MRI is most beneficial in those women at a higher risk of breast cancer, either from family or personal history, genetic risks (BRCA1 and 2 carriers) or past history of atypical cells on a biopsy. There are also some women who have dense breasts where the MMG is more difficult to interpret and where the surrounding normal breast tissue may hide the cancers.

Your doctor will discuss your risk factors with you and whether MRI may be beneficial. Breast MRI is used as a supplemental form of screening; it does not replace your routine mammograms.


Your breast surgeon may recommend a breast MRI after the diagnosis of breast cancer has been made on mammogram, tomosynthesis and ultrasound, following biopsy.

Not all breast cancers are the same, and they aren’t all treated in the same way, which is why further testing and getting an accurate diagnosis is important. Breast MRI is helpful in determining the size of your breast cancer and how much of the breast is involved. It will assist your surgeon in what type of surgery is best for you and potentially whether you may need additional treatment, including radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy.

Implant Assessment

Implant MRI is not a cancer study; it is the most sensitive test available to assess your implants and any potential complications.

The MRI scan assesses the integrity of your breast implants and whether they are ruptured and if there are any potential complications such as a change in the shape of your implant, fluid around the implant, and if there is silicone within lymph nodes.

The MRI coil does not compress the breast, and there is no risk to the implant during the procedure. There is no injection of contrast dye.

Risks / Side Effects

As part of the Diagnostic MRI examination, you may need to have an injection of a contrast agent (dye) known as Gadolinium. This medication is administered intravenously (injection into vein) through a needle. Overall MRI contrast injection is a safe procedure. Occasionally patients feel a little nauseous but this only lasts momentarily. More serious allergic type reactions, although possible, are extremely rare. The staff in the MRI department are fully trained to deal with such a reaction should it occur.

Before your Scan

When you arrive for your procedure, you will be asked to fill out an MRI safety questionnaire and a clinical history form used by our Doctors in assessing your case.

Before the procedure, our trained staff will explain the examination, discuss any concerns and prepare you for what to expect.  This process can take up to 15 minutes before you get onto the MRI scanner.

Because MRI uses large and strong magnets to create images, it is important that jewellery such as watches, chains, earrings and other metallic items such as eye-glasses are removed before the scan. You may also be asked to change into an examination gown for your safety and to make sure your clothing does not affect the images and diagnostic quality of the scan.

You will lie in the scanner on your front with your arms above your head, and your breasts will lay in a special coil, which is not tight like a mammogram. Your breasts need to be in the centre of the magnet, and you will go into the magnet feet-first.

During the scan, you will need to be as still as possible. If you experience claustrophobia (fear of small places), please discuss this with us before your scan. If sedation (medication to relax you) is required, you will need to arrange for someone to drive you home.

MRI scanners make a loud knocking sound while the images are developed. To reduce the impact of the noise, you will be offered headphones or earplugs. You will also be offered a buzzer to press if you want to talk to the technologist at any time during the scan.

Breast MRI involves the use of a contrast dye (Gadovist), which is given through a needle (intravenous cannula) placed in your arm. Contrast dye is not necessary for Implant scans.


The entire process (preparation and imaging) can take 30-45 minutes.

Are you ready to make your MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) appointment?

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