The American College of Radiology recently composed a list of guidelines to follow when considering a breast MRI. “Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast is a useful tool for the detection and characterization of breast disease, assessment of local extent of the disease, evaluation of treatment response, and guidance for biopsy and localization.” And at Advanced Imaging Centers we provide breast MRI's. Breast MRI's are a little different than just your regular old MRI, let us walk you through the basics.
Specifically high-risk patients can benefit from this screening. Breast MRIs are often used as surveillance for women with a 20% lifetime risk or more of breast cancer based on their genetics.
It’s important to understand that a screening MRI may not reduce mortality, but the MRI screening may improve odds of early detection, allowing patients to start treatment earlier, thereby increasing survival rates.
The MRI scan is also more suited for patients with breast implants who would normally have difficulty with a mammography.
The extent of the disease
Generally, “MRI determines the extent of disease more accurately than standard mammography and physical examination in many patients.”
Breast MRIs can be used before, during, and/or after chemotherapy as well. The scan can help evaluate the treatment and how the body is responding as well as detect any residual disease.
Breast MRI scans can be useful to detect the recurrence of breast cancer (when other scans are inconclusive) and detecting cancers whose primary location is unknown.
Clinical trials demonstrate that a breast MRI can locate breast cancer in over half of women where the mass cannot be seen with conventional mammography.
Breast MRI scans can also help characterize lesions when biopsy cannot be performed or help for a MRI-guided biopsy.
Things to remember about breast MRI's
- It’s not recommended for the general population
- Can cause a false positive, which is why an initial biopsy confirmation is suggested
- Should not supplement mammography and ultrasound scans as diagnostic procedures
- “Documentation that satisfies medical necessity includes 1) signs and symptoms and/or 2) relevant history (including known diagnoses).”
Now that you know how breast MRI's work, determine if it's the right scan for you. If you need help determining whether you should get a breast MRI, contact us at AIC! We can help you decide what scan is more appropriate for you, and your health. If you need to make an appointment, make one with us online.