What is a Breast MRI?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, is a safe and accurate medical imaging technique, which uses a magnetic field and radio waves instead of X-Rays to create detailed images of the soft tissues of the body. Breast MRI may be used as an additional tool to aid in the diagnosis and evaluation of breast disease. Breast MRI screening is appropriate and beneficial for a small group of patients, however, it does not replace mammography. This service is an extension of CRL Women’s Imaging and performed at the Allina Health Cancer Institute – Piper Breast Center.


No special preparation is required. You will be asked to change into a gown and remove all metal objects such as jewelry, hairpins, glasses and dentures. Please tell the technologist if you have any metal in your body such as a pacemaker, permanent dental bridges or braces, or if you are pregnant or nursing.

During the exam

The technologist will review a series of questions prior to your exam; an IV will then be started. You will lie on your stomach on the exam table with your arms by your side. Your breasts will be put in a hollow pad so they are suspended away from your body. You will be moved into a tube-like area, which is open on both ends.  After initial images are obtained, an injection of contrast (gadolinium) will be given through your IV and additional pictures will be taken. The entire exam takes approximately 45 minutes.


After your MRI you may return to your normal activities. A radiologist will interpret your MRI and the results will be sent to your referring physician. Your referring physician will contact you with results.