Breast MRI

Breast MRI at RCI

Breast MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging of the breast—or Breast MRI—is a test used to detect breast cancer and other abnormalities in the breast. MRI also may be used for breast implant evaluation, staging breast cancer, evaluating treatment options, and follow-up after treatment is complete. MRI also may be an option for patients with dense breasts and with a strong family history of breast cancer. Please discuss with your physician if breast MRI is appropriate for you.

What is Breast MRI and how is it useful?

Breast MRI is the most sensitive and thereby considered by most experts to be the best imaging technology available for detecting breast cancer. Since breast MRI detects almost all invasive breast cancers, even the smallest, it is revolutionizing the way we diagnose and treat breast cancer.

Unlike mammography, Breast MRI uses no radiation. Instead, radiofrequency waves in a magnetic field create hundreds of images of the breast. The images are captured digitally in three dimensions and show an incredible amount of fine detail. The use of an intravenous contrast called gadolinium is required to best detect breast cancers.

Diagnostic Breast MRI is a longer exam (approximately 25 minutes) that is typically used in certain high-risk patients, as well as in patients who have known breast cancer and includes additional types of images which allow better characterization of certain findings.

Fast Breast MRI is a shorter exam (less than 10 minutes), essentially a subset of Diagnostic Breast MRI focusing solely on the detection of cancer. Both types of exams can be used for screening women with dense breasts. (link to dense breasts section)

Fast Breast MRI

RCI now offers a new version of a Breast MRI known as Fast Breast MRI. It is a low-cost Breast MRI exam that has been developed by RCI specifically for screening women with dense breasts. Fast Breast MRI does not have radiation, does not require breast compression and has the same accuracy as the standard diagnostic Breast MRI exam.

Does insurance cover this procedure?

Fast breast MRI is a very new exam being offered at RCI and is currently not covered by insurance, including Medicare. You will be responsible to pay $399 in full at time of service. Please call ahead of your scheduled appointment if you have any questions.

What can I expect?

A breast MRI exam is performed with you lying on a platform specially designed for breast MRI. You will be asked to lie face down with your breasts placed in a hollow depression in the scanning table, which contains coils that detect radiofrequency signals from the MRI machine. Your arms will be at your side or above your head. For comfort and optimal imaging, the coils we use can be customized for each breast.

The scanning table will slide your entire body into the large, central opening of the MRI machine. The MRI machine creates a magnetic field around you, and radio waves are directed at your body. You won’t feel the magnetic field or radio waves, but you may hear loud tapping, thumping and other sounds coming from inside the machine. Earplugs are provided which help dampen the noise. and allow the technologist to communicate with you during the exam. The technologist will step into the control area, while staying in constant contact both visually and by the use of the intercom.

How do I prepare for my Breast MRI?

No eyeglasses, jewelry, dentures, hearing aids, or metallic objects of any kind can be brought into the MRI exam room. Wear a two-piece outfit; pants with elastic waistbands are best.

Your exam will be reviewed by a subspecialized breast imaging radiologist and the results sent to your doctor. Your doctor will discuss the results with you and explain what they mean in relation to your health.

If you have questions related to your procedure, please call 319-364-0121. To schedule an appointment, please call 319-364-0121. A physician’s referral is necessary for this exam.

If I have a Breast MRI do, I need to have a mammogram?

MRI screenings do not replace mammograms. A mammogram is the only medical imaging screening test proven to reduce breast cancer deaths. Based on current scientific information, it is recommended that you continue with mammograms every year starting at age 40 in addition to any other screening that you may undergo.

How often should I get Breast MRI screening?

Official guidelines for breast MRI screening in women of average to intermediate risk have not been established. However, based on currently available data from the medical literature along with American Cancer Society and American College of Radiology guidelines, we recommend the following breast MRI screening intervals, after an initial negative exam (in addition to yearly mammograms):

  • Average risk and dense breasts, less than age 55: Breast MRI every 2 years
  • Average risk and dense breasts, 55 and older: Breast MRI every 3 years
  • Intermediate risk and dense breasts, less than 55: Breast MRI every year
  • Intermediate risk and dense breasts, 55 and older: Breast MRI every 2 years
  • High risk, any breast density, any age: Breast MRI every year
  • Personal history of breast cancer and dense breasts, any age: Breast MRI every year
  • Personal history of breast cancer diagnosed before age 50, any breast density: Breast MRI every year

Download Fast Breast MRI Brochure

For more information on this and other radiology procedures, visit
RCI is accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR).

Contact RCI

RCI Imaging Center
1948 First Avenue NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
Hours: Monday – Friday,
7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Phone: 319-364-0121
Toll Free: 800-747-0121
Fax: 319-364-5684

For billing and
insurance questions:

RCI Business Services
1956 First Avenue NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
Hours: Monday – Friday
8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Phone: 319-832-1735
Toll Free: 800-747-9729
Fax: 319-832-1747

mailing address:

Radiology Consultants of Iowa
PO Box 338
Cedar Rapids, IA 52406