Breast Ultrasound and MRI Services

Breast Ultrasound:

QP_NapBC_AccredBreastCent_VERT_rgb-(1).jpgA painless exam using high frequency sound waves to make a picture of the internal structures of the breast.  This test does not use radiation. Ultrasounds are typically used to better define abnormalities found on a mammogram and to distinguish features such as fluid or solid. Ultrasound is a helpful tool in diagnosing breast lumps. The American College of Radiology does not recommend ultrasound as a screening tool to detect breast cancer. 
You will need a doctor’s order for this test. At the Center for Breast Health, all our breast ultrasounds are interpreted by the Radiologist in “real time” and you will have the results of your exam explained to you before leaving the center.    

Breast MRI:

Magnetic Resonance Imaging.  A highly sophisticated test that uses a strong magnet and radio frequency waves to produce pictures of the breast.  This exam does not use radiation to obtain an image.  A special magnet is used specifically for MRI of the breast.  An IV (intravenous line) will be placed and you will be positioned on a padded table lying face down on your abdomen.  The technologist will gently guide the breasts through two holes in the table and position you to minimize motion without compression.  An injection of Gadolinium will be given through the intravenous line.  Gadolinium makes breast tissue and abnormalities in the tissue more clearly visible on the MRI scans.  You will need a doctor’s order for this test.  In addition, some insurance companies have special rules on breast MRI coverage.  Check with your insurance company to see if breast MRI is a covered benefit for you.       
MRI can be difficult for women who experience claustrophobia.  If you are claustrophobic, talk with your doctor about medication to ease feelings of fear and anxiety that can occur with an MRI exam.

The American Cancer Society recommends MRI be used in addition to, not instead of, a screening mammogram. This is because while an MRI is a more sensitive test (it's more likely to detect cancer than a mammogram), it may still miss some cancers that a mammogram would detect. 

To view a video presentation about Breast MRI click here.

The American Cancer Society recommends yearly Breast MRI exams for women with the following:

  • BRCA1 (breast cancer 1) or BRCA2 (breast cancer 2) gene mutation
  • First-degree relative (parent, sibling, child) with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation and have not had genetic testing themselves 
  • Women who have a lifetime risk of breast cancer of 20%-25% or greater, based on one of several accepted risk assessment tools that consider family history and other factors
  • History of radiation to the chest between the ages of 10 and 30
  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Cowden syndrome, or Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome, or may have one of these syndromes based on a history in a first-degree relative

If you feel you’re at “High Risk” of developing breast cancer talk to your doctor.
A consult in the High Risk Breast Clinic may be right for you.


Sometimes called a Ductogram or Galactogram. This test is sometimes helpful in finding the cause of nipple discharge. A Ductogram is performed using mammography.  The breast is compressed and a small, fine, plastic tube is inserted into one of the ducts (openings) in the nipple. A small amount of dye is injected, which outlines the shape of the duct on an x-ray picture and will show whether there is an abnormality inside the duct.  You will need a doctor’s order for this exam.
There are many causes for nipple discharge.

To learn more and view a video presentation about Ductography click here.

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