What are the typical sequences used in a breast MRI?
Breast MRI is usually performed in the axial or sagittal plane on a 1.5- or 3-Tesla (T) magnet. We perform breast MRI in the sagittal plane on a 1.5-T magnet and use T1-weighted spin echo, fat-suppressed T2-weighted fast spin echo, and fat-suppressed three-dimensional T1-weighted spoiled gradient-recalled echo sequences. After intravenous contrast administration, the breast is usually scanned three times approximately 90 seconds apart to obtain dynamic postcontrast images. These sequential images provide information for kinetic analysis that can help to characterize lesions as benign or malignant. Delayed phase axial T1-weighted fat-suppressed images are then obtained to visualize the axillae and chest wall, and to allow for multiplanar correlation. Subtraction images are created by subtracting the precontrast images from the postcontrast images to aid with identification of areas of abnormal enhancement. These images are easily degraded by patient motion between sequences and so it is important to assess for motion before using these images for diagnostic interpretation. Both spatial (morphology) and temporal (kinetic) information is acquired in every case unless the examination is performed without contrast material to evaluate the integrity of silicone implants.