Screening Benefits of Fast Breast MRI
July 9, 2020

Mammograms are the gold standard for breast cancer screening. However, dense breast tissue can make it difficult for doctors to detect some breast cancers with mammography alone. Fast Breast MRI, also called Abbreviated Breast or AB MRI, can detect more than twice as many breast cancers as 3-D mammography. This makes it an important screening tool for women with dense breasts. 


What is Fast Breast MRI?

Fast Breast MRI is a shorter version of full breast MRI that’s up to three times faster. This test has been around for the past 20 years and includes only the most important sequences for detecting breast cancer. 

AB MRI is a self-pay screening and not covered by insurance. The up-front cost is $399, payable prior to the exam. 


What are dense breasts? 

Breast tissue is made of fat, connective tissue, and milk glands and ducts. If you have more connective and glandular tissue, the denser your breasts appear on mammogram. Dense breasts can “hide” some kinds of cancer. Because developing cancers typically have the best chance for a cure, early detection can save lives. 

Nearly half of women have dense breasts. Your radiologist will tell you if you have dense breasts based on your mammogram. 


Who should get Fast Breast MRI?

Women with the following can benefit from Fast Breast MRI: 

  • Dense breast tissue 
  • Normal mammogram within the past year 
  • Denial by insurance for full breast MRI 
  • Those seeking an affordable option to full breast MRI 

Although Fast Breast MRI can detect more cancers than mammogram, it is not as comprehensive as full breast MRI. Current guidelines recommend full breast MRI in women at increased risk, as it can detect a wider range of diseases. 


What can you expect with Fast Breast MRI? 

This procedure is easy, fast and requires no preparation on your part. After arriving at Central Oregon Radiology you will: 

  • Change into a gown 
  • Remove anything metallic, including jewelry, such as a wedding ring (it’s best to leave these items at home) 
  • Be given a Gadolinium-based contrast through an IV 
  • Wear headphones in order to hear music, reduce the noise of the MRI machine, and listen to the technician’s instructions 
  • Lie down on the MRI table
  • Relax as the table slides into the MRI tube 
  • Hear loud sounds around you as the machine works; you can let the technician know if you are feeling uncomfortable or claustrophobic
  • Slide out from the MRI tube after the series of images are taken
  • Have your IV removed
  • Get dressed

No radiation is used for MRI. Your breasts won’t be compressed. One of our specially trained Radiologists will examine your Fast Breast MRI, interpret your results, and share them with you and your doctor. 


What if the results are abnormal?

Twenty to thirty percent of Fast Breast MRIs require additional tests. These might include a follow-up full breast MRI, ultrasound, or diagnostic mammogram. 

If the Radiologist detects something suspicious or finds a non-cancerous lesion, you may need a biopsy or additional follow-up. We’re here for you with exceptional care and unmatched compassion, every step of the way. 


Do I still need to have mammograms? 

Even with dense breasts, mammograms are the only imaging exam proven to reduce breast cancer mortality.  Mammograms also help detect changes in the pattern of your breast density, which is critical for detecting breast cancer early. We recommend that you continue with annual mammograms.  



You’ll need a doctor’s orders to schedule a Fast Breast MRI. Some women with dense breasts choose to have supplemental screening annually or every two years. 

If you still get a menstrual period, you’ll need to schedule your MRI between day 7 and 10 of your menstrual cycle to get the most accurate result. (Day 1 is the first day of your period.) If your cycles are irregular or you’ve have had a hysterectomy but still have your ovaries, your MRI may be more difficult to interpret. 

When you call to schedule, we can answer questions about: 

  • Implanted medical devices
  • Anxiety or fear of small or enclosed spaces
  • Arrival time 
  • Any concerns you may have

Call today. 

If you have dense breasts, think fast. To learn about Fast Breast MRI, to see if it’s right for you, or to schedule an appointment (a doctor’s order is required), please call 541-382-9383.

Your health. Our focus.