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Procedures

Breast MRI

Know the Basics

Breast MRI is the most sensitive technique used to image the breast and thus finds more breast abnormalities than mammography or ultrasound.  MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create digital images of the breast and (like ultrasound) is not associated with any patient radiation exposure.

Although breast MRI is an extremely effective tool in the detection of breast cancer and is helpful in many different clinical situations, it is not a replacement for mammography or ultrasound.

What Is Breast MRI?

Breast MRI is a powerful technique used for primary detection of breast cancer in high-risk patients and for determination of the extent of disease after it has been diagnosed using mammography or ultrasound. MRI is a non-invasive procedure that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create digital images of your breast. Breast MRI is an extremely sensitive method of disease detection, although it is not a replacement for mammography or ultrasound imaging but rather a supplemental tool that is useful in many different clinical situations.

Breast MRI may be recommended for:

  • Screening in patients with a strong family history of breast cancer.
  • Preoperative evaluation following recent diagnosis of breast cancer.
  • Further evaluation of inconclusive mammography or ultrasound.
  • Suspected leak or rupture of a silicone breast implant.
  • Follow up after chemotherapy treatment.

How Should I Prepare?

You should wear comfortable loose-fitting clothing, though you may be asked to change into a patient gown. Any metal-containing objects such as earrings, eyeglasses, or hairpins should be removed.  You should avoid drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages prior to scanning so you are able to lie still for the duration of the exam.

What Should I Expect?

You will not be able to have an MRI examination if you have any of the following:

  • Most pacemakers
  • Certain brain aneurysm clips
  • Cochlear implants
  • Metallic fragments in an eye
  • Implanted spinal cord stimulator
  • Certain other metal-containing implants

A gadolinium-based contrast agent will be injected into a vein in your hand or arm to improve visualization of breast abnormalities on the MRI images. Please let us know if:

  • You are pregnant or think you might be
  • You are breastfeeding
  • You have anemia or any diseases that affect red blood cells
  • You have asthma or other allergic respiratory disorders
  • You have kidney (renal) disease
  • You have a history of injury during military service
  • You have a history of working with metal

After you arrive for your appointment, you will be escorted to a procedure room, where you will be asked to change into a patient gown. A nurse or technologist will then insert an intravenous line (IV) into a vein in your hand or arm for injection of the contrast agent. You will lie face down on a moveable exam table, and your breasts will be positioned into special openings in the table. After you have been properly positioned, the technologist will begin obtaining the MRI images.

The MRI machine creates a magnetic field around you and directs radio waves at your body to create the MRI images. You won’t feel the magnetic field or radio waves, but you may hear loud tapping and thumping sounds coming from inside the machine. While the images are obtained, you will be instructed to breathe normally but to lie as still as possible. The technologist will monitor you from another room. You will be able to speak to the technologist through a microphone, and the technologist will also be able to talk to you. The entire procedure may take up to one hour.

For your safety and the protection of others, we do not allow anyone other than patients in our exam rooms.

How Do I Get the Results?

After your study, the images will be evaluated by one of our board-certified radiologists with expertise in breast imaging. A final report will be sent to your doctor or healthcare provider, who can then discuss the results with you in detail.

Reports are also available on the MyRAD Patient Portal

Breast Imaging Team

Matthew L. Bell, M.D.

  • Specialties:
    Breast Imaging, General Radiology
  • Education:
    B.S. – University of California at Irvine, 1996
    M.D. – Medical College of Wisconsin, 2001
  • Internship:
    Transitional, Aurora Health Care/St. Luke’s Medical Center (Milwaukee), 2002-2003
  • Residency:
    Diagnostic Radiology, Aurora Health Care/St. Luke’s Medical Center (Milwaukee), 2003-2007
  • Fellowship:
    Cross-Sectional Imaging, University of Arizona, 2007-2008
  • Board Certifications:
    ABR 2007

With Radiology Ltd. since 2008

Danielle M. Carroll, M.D.

  • Specialties:
    Breast Imaging, General Radiology
  • Education:
    B.S. University of Arizona, 1997
    M.D. University of Arizona, 2007
  • Internship:
    Tucson Hospital Medical Education Program, 2007-2008
  • Residency:
    Diagnostic Radiology, University of Arizona, 2008-2012
  • Fellowship:
    Breast Imaging, University of Arizona, 2012-2013
  • Board Certifications:
    ABR 2012

Marcus J. Dill-Macky, M.D.

  • Specialties:
    Breast Imaging, General Radiology
  • Education:
    M.B.B.S. – University of Western Australia, 1988
    M.D., 2006
  • Internship:
    Transitional, Royal Perth Hospital (Australia), 1988
  • Residency:
    Diagnostic Radiology, Western Australia Radiology Training Scheme, 1993-1998
  • Fellowship:
    Body Imaging, University of Toronto, 1998-1999; MRI, Monash Medical Centre (Melbourne, Australia), 1999
  • Board Certifications:
    MRCP 1992; FRANZCR 1998; RCPSC 2006; ABR 2006

Assistant Professor in Medical Imaging, University Health Network and the Mount Sinai Hospital (Toronto), 2002-2007
With Radiology Ltd. since 2007

Christine N. Eppelheimer, M.D.

  • Specialties:
    Breast Imaging, General Radiology
  • Education:
    B.S. - University of Arizona, 2006
    M.D. - University of Arizona, 2010
  • Internship:
    Internal Medicine, Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center (Phoenix), 2010-11
  • Residency:
    Diagnostic Radiology, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center (Phoenix), 2011-14; Mt. Sinai Beth Israel (New York), 2014-15
  • Fellowship:
    Body and Breast Imaging, North Shore University Hospital (Manhasset, NY), 2015-16
  • Board Certifications:
    ABR 2014

Robert F. Rauch, II, M.D.

  • Specialties:
    Breast Imaging, General Radiology, Interventional Radiology
  • Education:
    B.A. – Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois), 1974
    M.D. – Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland), 1978
  • Internship:
    Internal Medicine, Good Samaritan Hospital (Phoenix), 1978-1979
  • Residency:
    Diagnostic Radiology, University of California at San Francisco, 1979-1982
  • Fellowship:
    Ultrasound/CT, Duke University, 1982-1983
  • Board Certifications:
    ABR 1982; CAQ Interventional Radiology 1997, 2007

With Radiology Ltd. since 1984

Paul R. Strautman, M.D.

  • Specialties:
    Breast Imaging, General Radiology, Pediatric Radiology
  • Education:
    B.S. – University of Arizona, 1978
    M.D. – University of Arizona, 1985
  • Internship:
    Transitional, Good Samaritan Medical Center (Phoenix), 1985-1986
  • Residency:
    Diagnostic Radiology, University of Arizona, 1986-1990
  • Fellowship:
    Interventional Radiology, Brown University, 1990-1991
  • Board Certifications:
    ABR 1990

With Radiology Ltd. since 2010

Marisa H. Borders, M.D.

  • Specialties:
    Breast Imaging
  • Education:
    B.S. - Pepperdine University, 1995
    M.D. - Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, 2000
  • Internship:
    Internal Medicine, St. Joseph's Hospital, 2000-2001
  • Residency:
    Diagnostic Radiology, University of Arizona, 2001-2005
  • Fellowship:
    Breast and Body Imaging, University of Arizona, 2005-2006
  • Board Certifications:
    ABR 2005

Meet Joann, Tucson technologist

Joann was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. Breast MRI helped Joann and her physicians make the best decisions for her treatment plan. Now cancer free for seven years, Joann works as a Breast Ultrasound technologist for Radiology Ltd. in Tucson and offers the same kind and caring support to her patients that she received while going through her treatment. “The support and kindness I experienced here made all the difference,” says Joann.