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UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital

Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Preparation and Procedure

UW Health's radiology services in Madison, Wisconsin offer magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), one of the most advanced and rapidly evolving clinical imaging tools available in medicine today.


Preparing for Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)


No advance preparation is usually required for MRI.

  • Patients are asked to have only a light meal before the examination
  • Patients who had surgery resulting in metallic implants such as cardiac pacemakers or brain aneurysm clips may be prevented from having an MRI examination
  • Patients who are or have been occupational welders, sheet metal workers, or have had similar occupations, may be prevented from having this exam. An X-ray to check for metal in the area of the eyes may be necessary to insure a safe MRI.

Please tell your doctor before scheduling your scan if any of these conditions apply, or if you think you might be pregnant.


Just prior to your exam, you will be asked to remove any jewelry, keys, credit cards, watches or other metallic objects and secure them in a private safe locker that we will provide for you. You will be given a gown to wear during the examination.


The Exam


At the time of your exam, the technologist will position you on the exam table of the scanner and, after placing a small intravenous catheter, the table will move into the tube-like scanner. During the imaging, you will hear dull pounding and clicking sounds coming from the scanner. This is normal. If it bothers you, tell the technologist and you will be provided with earplugs.


Two sets of images will be obtained: one before and one after the injection of a small amount of contrast agent through your IV. Recent data has shown that a serious medical condition can be induced by the contrast in patients known to have renal failure. Technologists will therefore be asking you about your kidney function.


During the examination, it is critical that you remain very still. The technologist will tell you when it is all right to move. A radiologist will later interpret the pictures obtained during your examination.