Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Breast
How It Feels
You will not have pain from the magnetic
field or radio waves. The table you lie on may feel hard and the room may be
cool. You may become uncomfortable from lying in one position for a long
Some people feel anxious (claustrophobic) inside the MRI
machine. You may be given medicine (sedative) to help you relax.
If dye is used, you may feel some coolness and
flushing as it is put into your vein.
In rare cases, you may
- A tingling sensation in your mouth if you have
metal dental fillings.
- Warmth in the breast. This is normal and
does not need treatment unless it becomes bothersome. Tell the technologist if
- Have any breathing
- Feel sick to your stomach.
- Have a
- Feel dizzy.
- Have pain.
- Feel a
- Have itchy skin.
There are no known harmful effects from the
strong magnetic field used for MRI. But the magnet is very powerful. The magnet
may affect pacemakers, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs),
artificial limbs, and other medical devices that contain iron.
you may have metal fragments in your eyes, an MRI can cause damage to the
retina. If there is a concern about metal fragments in
the eye, most MRI clinics will do X-rays of the eyes before the MRI. If metal
is found on the X-ray, the MRI will not be done.
Iron pigments in
tattoos or tattooed eyeliner can cause skin or eye irritation problems.
An MRI can cause a burn with some medicine patches. Be sure to tell your
doctor if you are wearing a patch.
Contrast material that contains gadolinium may cause a
serious problem (called nephrogenic systemic fibrosis) in people who have
There is a small risk of having
allergic reaction if contrast material is used during
the MRI scan. Most reactions are mild and can be treated with medicine. There
is also a small risk of infection at the IV site.
An MRI may be more likely than other tests to report a problem in the breast when a problem is not there (false-positive). A false-positive result may lead to more tests such as a biopsy when no serious problem is really present. So MRI is not used as a
screening test for women at low or average risk for breast cancer.