MR mammography is the most sensitive diagnostic procedure to detect breast cancer. MR mammography takes place in a tube that creates a strong magnetic field but works without radiation exposure. During the examination, a contrast agent is injected into the arm vein to help visualize and differentiate potential tumors from healthy tissue due to their altered blood circulation.
When is MR mammography indicated?
In case you already have been diagnosed with breast cancer, we recommend MR mammography prior to surgery in order to differentiate areas of the breast more clearly and to examine whether there are other changes of the breast that have not been found during other diagnostic procedures.
Studies have proven that MR mammography expands the options of evaluating a ductal carcinoma in situ (cancer of milk ducts) in contrast to conventional mammography.
MR mammography at specialized centers is recommended for women with an increased risk of breast cancer due to the medical history of their family.
MR mammography also helps evaluate the efficacy of chemotherapy (neoadjuvant therapy) prior to surgery much more accurately than conventional mammography.
MR mammography makes it easier to differentiate between scar tissue and cancerous tissue after breast-conserving surgery in contrast to breast ultrasound.
However, MR mammography is no routine examination whose costs are covered by every medical insurance company.
How is MR mammography performed?
Before undergoing MR mammography, it is necessary to remove anything that is made of metal from your body. In case you carry a pacemaker, please inform your radiologist prior to the examination. With a specialized examination protocol, an MR examination of patients with a pacemaker or cardioverter is also possible.
You lie on your tummy while your breast is slightly compressed into an MR coil. This is necessary to rule out breast movement and improve the image quality.
After the beginning of the examination, which lasts about 20 minutes, a contrast agent is injected into the arm vein. This enables us to compare images before and after the injection of the contrast agent.
Because it can be claustrophobic and uncomfortable to lie on your tummy in a tube while your breasts are being compressed, we can give you sedative before the examination starts. During MR mammography, it is very loud why you are provided with earplugs.