- Is most often used to check if a breast implant has ruptured
- Is used for breast screening and biopsies, especially in high-risk women
- May be used for screening women at high risk for breast cancer or as a second exam after an abnormal mammogram
- Is very good at finding advanced or invasive breast cancers
A Answers (3)
Aurora Health Care answeredTo help diagnose breast cancer, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI):
Brigham and Women's Hospital answeredMagnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may have a role in the detection and management of some breast cancers. Because of their blood supply, breast malignancies typically become brighter more quickly and more intensely than benign tissues on MR images obtained after intravenous injection of a contrast agent (gadolinium).
Many investigators report that breast MRI detects 100% of breast cancers. There are, however, many false positive MR studies in which a benign abnormality mimics a cancer. Additionally, ductal carcinoma-in-situ (the earliest form of breast cancer) is identifiable on MR images in only 50% of patients.
Magnetic resonance has been shown to be the most accurate means of evaluating breast implants for possible complications such as rupture. Its superiority over mammography and ultrasonography lies not only in its ability to provide a cross-sectional view; MRI also provides information about specific tissue characteristics.
Potential, but as-yet unproven, uses for breast MRI include: 1) imaging the "dense breast," 2) more precisely determining the extent of a cancer, 3) finding the primary tumor in node positive/mammogram negative patients, and 4) assessing for recurrence after lumpectomy.
Patrick Maguire, MD, Oncology, answeredThere's consensus among the experts on a few aspects of breast cancer screening. Both ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast are unproven as widespread screening tests. They're helpful for some patients after mammography to evaluate suspicious areas in the breast, but they're not effective screening tests on their own.