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Breast MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

Breast MRI is a powerful non-invasive breast imaging tool that produces high-resolution detailed 3D images specifically of the breast. MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Breast MRI uses magnets, radio waves and an intravenous injection of contrast dye to create pictures of the breast and surrounding tissue. There is no radiation exposure. In addition to providing anatomical information about the breast, MRI provides information about the vascular patterns of the breast, which helps in detecting breast cancers and in differentiating them from benign tumors.

Although the procedure is not painful, we understand that an MRI can be overwhelming. While we have already taken some steps to help you, including a state-of-the-art wide-bore magnet where your head will be partially outside the tube. Please let Hoag’s staff know if you feel anxious or claustrophobic. We will help you relax, or provide an alternative screening option.

Hoag is home to Orange County’s first dedicated breast MRI system, and as the highest volume provider of breast MRI in the area, you can feel comfortable that you are in the hands of experts. Breast MRI is available at Hoag Breast Centers in Newport Beach, Irvine (Sand Canyon) and Huntington Beach.

The American College of Radiology recommends breast MRI for supplemental breast cancer screening in addition to yearly mammograms in:

  • Women with a greater than 20% lifetime risk of breast cancer (including women with genetic predisposition to breast cancer as determined by either gene testing or family predigree, or individuals with a history of chest radiation treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • Women with a personal history of breast cancer and dense breast tissue, or those diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 50.

Breast MRI may also be considered for women at moderately elevated risk of breast cancer (15 to 20%) and women with breast augmentation with implants and/or free injections with silicone, paraffin or polyacrylamide gel.

Although breast MRI is powerful, it should not be used as a substitute for screeing mammograms because breast cancer can present in many different forms, and MRI will miss some cancers that mammography will detect.

In patients who are unable to undergo breast MRI due to contraindications such as an MRI incompatible pacemaker or implanted device, pregnancy, severe renal failure, morbid obesity, allergy to gadolinium contrast, and sever claustrophobia, screening breast ultrasound may be a good alternative.

To schedule your breast MRI, call 949-764-5573.

NOTE: you will need an order from your health care provider prior to scheduling your exam.