Breast MRI : FSA Eligibility
What is a Breast MRI?
A breast MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is similar to a traditional MRI that utilizes a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to produce visual imagery of organs and other structures in the body. While x-rays, ultrasounds or CT scans can serve this same purpose, MRIs are often used to capture multiple images of a specific area, which are then combined using a computer to generate detailed pictures. Breast MRIs can spot certain cancers that would not be seen without a mammogram, so they are an extremely helpful tool in breast cancer detection.
Breast MRIs are typically conducted after a biopsy has tested positive for cancer, so doctors can study the condition in depth to learn more about the extent of the disease and its potential to spread. However, MRIs are much more likely to find something that does not turn out to be cancer, also known as a false positive, which is why breast MRIs are not used as a primary screening tool for women with an average risk of breast cancer, as this could produce more false positives that must be investigated, which would result in additional tests and biopsies (American Cancer Society).
Women who have a high risk of breast cancer or have a significant family history of the disease are encouraged to receive regular mammograms in addition to breast MRIs as a screening tool to detect breast cancer. Breast MRIs are conducted on an outpatient basis in a hospital or clinic, and while the test is painless, patients have to lie flat and still inside the narrow cylinder during the duration of the test. Breast MRI scans usually take between 45 and 60 minutes, at which point the images are checked to see if more will be necessary (Mayo Clinic).
Breast MRIs are a necessary diagnostic test to reveal the presence of breast cancer and other conditions in a patient's body, therefore they are eligible for reimbursement with consumer-directed healthcare accounts.