What is contrast enhanced Breast MRI?
Contrast enhanced magnetic resonance imaging known as MRI is noninvasive in nature and it makes use of very strong magnets and pulses of radio waves in order to manipulate the natural magnetic properties of the body. When it is used in combination with gadolinium based intravenous contrast it is known as contrast enhanced MRI. This kind of MRI looks at the structure of the tissues and also the blood flow as the cancerous tumors have enhanced or abnormal flow of blood.
How it works
For an MRI a contrast agent is administered intravenously and during the screening the patient is made to lie face down and the breasts are positioned on two holes of a coil. Usually this process takes about 30-40 minutes.
Benefits of contrast enhanced MRI
With the help of contrast enhanced breast MRI at least 10 additional cancers per thousand women can be detected after mammography, even when breast ultrasound has been performed along with mammography. MRI is very efficient and for women at high risk is recommended every year.
A contrast enhanced MRI is a very sensitive screening method and is much more effective than mammography or ultrasound. Some of the indications could be cancers but most of them are not. It is necessary to combine the results of mammography and MRI in order to get an accurate diagnosis. It may also be necessary to perform MRI guided biopsy if cancer test is positive.
You need to bear in mind that some patients cannot tolerate the contrast agent and it is especially problematic for women with kidney disease. Some women may also feel claustrophobic when enclosed in the tube for the MRI scan. Other patients with neck problems, obesity or breathing issues also may face problems. MRI cannot be performed on patients who have some metal implants like pacemakers and is not recommended if the patient is pregnant.