Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a powerful tool for breast cancer screening and diagnosis, best performed on patients with a high risk of cancer. Many consider it to be the best way to detect the disease in its earliest, most treatable stage.
The exam is non-invasive, uses no radiation, and our state-of-the-art equipment offers a more comfortable imaging experience. It is invaluable for detecting, locating and determining the stage of breast cancer. It can also assess the effectiveness of chemotherapy, distinguish between scar tissue and recurrent tumors, determine if a cancer has spread or evaluate the integrity of breast implants.
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR MY EXAM?
- Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment.
- Take all prescribed medications as directed.
- Wear a two-piece outfit so you can change for the exam more comfortably.
- Please let us know if you are, or may be, pregnant, or if you've had recent surgery.
- Please also let us know if you have metal in your body; here is a list of metal objects that may be a concern.
- Children may have parents in the exam room with them.
- Your technologist may ask you to remove any metallic objects, which are unsafe near the MRI magnet.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING MY EXAM?
- You will be asked to remove your clothing from the waist up and given a robe.
- We’ll insert an intravenous (IV) line on the inside of your elbow. This will allow us to give you a contrast solution to enhance breast tissue near the end of your exam. Please note that IV contrast is an additional cost of $250.
- Once the IV is in place you will be asked to lie on your stomach on the breast coil (camera). The coil consists of holes for each breast. Your robe will remain on, but we will ask you to open the front to allow each breast to fully hang within each coil.
- We will do our best to make you comfortable throughout this exam, using blankets, sponges and pillows.
- An MRI can be loud, so you will be provided with headphones or ear plugs to reduce the noise. Eye masks are available upon request for patients who have difficulty relaxing in a confined space. You are also given an emergency call bell to stop the exam, if needed.
- Your bed will move slowly into the scanner to position your breast in the centre of the machine. The MRI scanner is well lit and ventilated.
- You will be asked to hold very still, as movement may result in blurring of images. Your technologist will be close by at all times.
- This a painless, radiation-free exam. There is NO squeezing of the breast.
- Once we have successfully captured your images, your IV will be removed and you are free to leave.
WHEN WILL I GET MY RESULTS?
We do our best to have our radiologists interpret the information and forward the results to your doctor by the next business day.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
In Calgary, MRI exams are provided at our Mayfair Place location as private pay exams and are not covered by Alberta Health Care. Your health spending account or group medical insurance plan may cover the cost of a private MRI that is prescribed by a qualified health care practitioner. You will need to check with your plan administrator for coverage details.
Our pricing can be download in the right side bar, just click on the applicable location. If multiple areas are scheduled within the same appointment, discounts may apply. We also offer a 10% Seniors Discount (65+). Please note that IV contrast is an additional cost of $250.