What Is a Breast MRI?

A breast MRI creates highly detailed images of breast tissue. It is used with other imaging such as mammography and ultrasound to provide an overview of breast health. An appointment takes about an hour but the actual scan time is only about 15 minutes.

A breast MRI uses contrast injected through an IV. Contrast helps improve the clarity of images to make a diagnosis more accurate. It works by making some tissues and structures stand out from others so radiologists can see them more clearly.

The benefits of using contrast typically outweigh any potential risk. We carefully asses your risk before giving you contrast.

How to Prepare for a Breast MRI

Log into Patient Gateway for more details on your specific appointment.

  • Screening Call - Expect to get a phone call from our MRI staff about three days before your appointment. We will ask you questions about allergies and implants. The call helps make sure we have everything ready for you when you arrive.
  • Implants - Please bring information about any metal or electronic implants in your body to your appointment.
  • Arrival Time - Please arrive 30 minutes before your appointment to check in.
  • Claustrophobia - Ask your doctor about medicine to help you relax during your exam if you have a fear of small spaces. We don't have any in our department that we can give you.
  • Clothing - Please wear clothes that are easy to change out of. All MRI patients at Mass General change into a hospital gown for safety.
  • Valuables - Valuables are not allowed in the exam room. Lockers are available, but we suggest you leave your valuables at home so you don’t have to worry about them. 
  • Children - If you need to bring kids to your appointment, please bring someone to watch them in the waiting room.

Patient Resources

Use these patient resources to answer other questions about your appointment. You can also contact us if you need any help.

Listen to an MRI

Listen to an MRI

Hear the variations in sound as electricity passes through the scanner.

Checking In

Checking In

Find out what happens when you check and why we keep asking for your date of birth.

MRI and IV Contrast

MRI and IV Contrast

Learn more about the IV contrast we use for a breast MRI.

MRI and Pregnancy

MRI and Pregnancy

Learn about having an MRI when you're pregnant.

Patient Gateway

Patient Gateway

Check Patient Gateway to manage your health and get in touch with your doctor's office.