Breast MRI

What to Expect

UVA Imaging is dedicated to ensuring you have the best possible experience with your Breast MRI exam.

MRI is a safe, painless exam that does not expose you to radiation.  You will lie on a table that moves inside a machine that contains a powerful magnet.  

Positioning:  You will be asked to lie face down on the table with both arms extended above your head.  Your breasts will be positioned into two cup-like structures of an imaging device that will aid in creating the images. 

For optimal imaging, the technologist will need to position your breasts so there are no folds in the breast tissue.  Slight compression may be used to help stabilize your breast tissue and minimize motion.  This will not be painful, but please let us know if you are uncomfortable at the beginning of the exam and we will make the adjustments needed for your comfort.

Movement:  The most important thing you can do to make sure your exam is successful is to hold as still as you can throughout the procedure.  Once the scan begins, movement may require that the exam be rescheduled.  Please let us make you as comfortable as possible before we begin.

Sound:  You will be offered ear plugs to reduce the knocking noises while the MR scanner is producing images.  The technologist will be able to see, hear and speak with you at all times using a two-way intercom.

Contrast:  Contrast will then be administered followed by additional imaging during or after the injection. The technologist will inform you when the contrast is being given.

Screening Questions:  The MRI machine contains a very powerful magnet so we must ensure that no metal objects get near the machine. To ensure your safety, you will be asked screening questions at the time of scheduling and again during your personal appointment reminder call. You will also be asked to complete a screening sheet at the time of registration or complete the form and bring it with you to your appointment.

Preparation:  To prevent any damage from metal on clothing, you will be asked to change into a gown and scrub pants for the exam.  A locker is provided to store your belongings until your exam is completed.  Patients should NOT wear deodorant on the day of the exam.

Mammogram:  An MRI will not be performed without a current mammogram within one year unless there is a suspected rupture or leak of an implant. Click here to learn more about how to prepare for your Breast MRI Exam.

Extra consideration must be given if you have any of the conditions listed below.  We will work with you to make sure that you are scheduled appropriately.

  • Medical Devices:  Patients who have implanted medical devices such as cochlear implants, aneurysm clips, artificial heart valves or stints, insulin pumps and defibrillators may not be able to be scheduled for an MRI.  A proper investigation of the implant will need to be performed by the MRI staff prior to scheduling the patient's appointment.
  • History of Eye or Face Injury:  Patients who have ever had an injury to their eye or face with metal or metal shavings, or have ever been shot with a gun.
  • Pacemakers:  Because we use a strong magnet in the MRI, we must carefully screen patients who have pacemakers.  If you have a pacemaker and have been scheduled to have an MRI exam, please contact us immediately.
  • Contrast Allergies:  If you have a known allergy to a contrast dye agent, please  contact us right away.  Patients with a known contrast allergy can have their exams performed at the UVA Medical Center.

Appointments Available

Scheduling and Results

Scheduling an Appointment

A scheduling specialist would be a happy to help you.  Please call us at (434) 243-0321 to schedule your exam.

All exams require a Physician's order.  Prior to scheduling your appointment, we will confirm that we have received the order.

Your Results

The doctor who ordered your exam will contact you once they have received and reviewed your results.

They may have a specific day dedicated to calling patients, so it may be several days before their office contacts you.  If there is a critical finding on your study, our radiology doctor will contact your doctor as soon as possible to let them know.