Breast Cancer – Diagnostics – Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) produces an image of the inside of the breast by using magnetic fields. MRI is used if previous mammography and ultrasound scans have produced ambiguous clinical results. An MRI scan just before an operation might be useful for women with very dense glandular tissue to make sure there are no other tumors and to locate them if there are. MRI is also used for young women with an elevated risk of breast cancer.
The advantage: An MRI scan is X-ray free and some systems even produce three-dimensional images and/or allow for MRI-supported biopsies.
During the examination, the patient has to lie very still and is then moved into a tube surrounded by a magnet. Although most women do not have any problems with this procedure, some experience anxiety or fear. However, you are always able to communicate with medical staff via intercom and camera.
A contrast agent is injected into the veins during this radiation-free examination to enhance the images.
The examination itself takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes. It should be carried out during the second or third week of the menstrual cycle, because this is the time to get the best MRI images.
Supplement to mammography
As with ultrasound diagnostics, an MRI scan should not entirely replace mammography if breast cancer is already suspected. At best, it should be used as a complementary measure.
3D proton MRI spectroscopy
In the future, 3D proton MRI spectroscopy might save patients from unnecessary biopsies by providing metabolic information, which makes it easier for the doctor to differentiate between healthy and diseased tissue.