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The 4 W’s of a Fast Breast MRI Exam

It is no secret that breast cancer screening saves lives. That is why for many decades the American Cancer Society and other professional organizations have recommended regular mammograms. However, what you may not know is that mammograms, including 3-D mammograms, miss many early cancers in women who have dense breast tissue, particularly aggressive cancers that may threaten your life. Because of this, many breast imaging experts recommend that women with dense breasts have additional screening. It is a proven fact that MRI is the most accurate test for detecting breast cancer, particularly early, when there is the best chance for cure. The power of breast MRI is reflected in the numbers; breast MRI finds 4 to 5 times as many cancers as mammograms. In fact, it is exceedingly rare for MRI to miss a life-threatening breast cancer. Until recently, breast MRI has not been recommended for routine screening other than for women who are at very high risk because it is expensive and typically not covered by insurance. Fortunately, Via Radiology offers a less expensive version of breast MRI known as Fast Breast MRI, or Abbreviated Breast MRI (AB-MR).

What is Fast Breast MRI?

Fast Breast MRI is a much shorter version of a traditional Breast MRI, yet it has the same accuracy as a traditional exam when used for screening.  And because of the shorter exam time, the cost is much less than a traditional breast MRI. Fast Breast MRI does not require breast compression, does not use radiation and the accuracy is not affected by breast density.

Who Should Get Fast Breast MRI?

Fast Breast MRI was developed for women with dense breasts who want to undergo additional screening. The accuracy of Fast Breast MRI is much higher, with less false positives, than breast ultrasound. Approximately 50% of women have dense breasts. Your breast density is included in your mammogram report. Additionally, the majority of states now require that women with dense breasts receive written notification in their mammogram results letter, including WA State, effective January 1, 2019.

Where Can I Get a Fast Breast MRI exam?

Fast Breast MRI is available at Via Radiology – Meridian Pavilion for $495. Your breast MRI will be read by one of our expert breast imaging radiologists. Although we will bill your insurance company, payment is required at the time of service. Because this is a very new exam, please be aware that most insurance companies at this time do not cover it. Call 206-306-1011 or contact us online for more information.

When Should I get Screened & How Often?

In order to determine how often you should be screened, you need to know your breast cancer risk. Via Radiology includes this service at the time of your breast MRI exam. Official guidelines for breast MRI screening in women of average to intermediate risk have not been established. Based on currently available information we recommend the following risk based breast MRI screening intervals (in addition to yearly mammograms):

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


Via Radiology Offers Diagnostic Imaging in Seattle

Via Radiology offers Seattle diagnostic imaging services in the greater Seattle area, including ultrasoundMRIPETCT scansx-ray and other imaging modalities.  We also provide interventional services and screenings for lung cancer in addition to our breast imaging services. Contact us online or call 206-306-1011 for more information on all of our provided services.