Abbreviated Breast MRI

Intermountain Medical Imaging is the First in the Valley to Offer Abbreviated Breast MRI

Abbreviated MRI also called “AB-MRI” or FAST MRI is a shortened version of a breast MRI that is designed to screen for additional breast cancers not seen on other imaging such as mammography or ultrasound. It detects biologically aggressive invasive cancers at early stages.

Abbreviated Breast MRI is an examination of the breast that detects small cancers that standard mammography does not see. It is NOT a replacement for annual mammogram screenings. Studies show that an AB-MRI examination in conjunction with a mammogram can find more cancers in women with dense breast than mammography alone. This is a painless examination that takes less than 30 minutes to complete and has no radiation or compression.

Dense Breasts May Benefit Most from Abbreviated Breast MRI

Dense Breast Tissue

Breasts are considered “dense” if they have more fibrous or glandular tissue and less fatty tissue. While the condition is normal and very common, it can make it harder to pick up small tumors on screening mammograms. According to the American College of Surgeons (ACS), breast density can increase the risk for breast cancer.

Because of this, an abbreviated breast MRI may be considered in addition to a screening mammogram. It’s important to note that the abbreviated breast MRI isn’t a replacement for an annual mammogram. Slow growing cancers or pre-invasive cancers like those that form in your milk ducts may not easily appear on breast MRI — they may only be seen on a mammogram.


Intermountain Medical Imaging now offers abbreviated breast MRI to detect breast cancer in women considered at average risk. The procedure has a higher cancer detection rate than 3-D screening mammograms alone.

Benefits of Abbreviated Breast MRI:

There are several benefits of an abbreviated breast MRI.

  • Abbreviated MRI scans are about 10 minutes. A traditional MRI can take up to 45 minutes.
  • It offers a higher cancer detection rate for average-risk patients and can identify extremely small cancers that cannot be found with 3D mammography or ultrasound alone.
  • Our MRI scanner is larger in size, allowing for additional comfort for all body types. It’s relatively comfortable and requires no patient prep. Patients lie face down and move through a large bore MRI machine for this exam.
  • The out-of-pocket cost of $350, collected at the time of service, and is less expensive than a traditional MRI when not covered by insurance.


Who is recommended to get an Abbreviated Breast MRI?

Women with heterogeneously dense and extremely dense breast tissue benefit most from additional MRI screening.

If I get a 3D mammogram, do I also need to get an Abbreviated Breast MRI?

AB- MRI is meant to be complementary to a mammogram and should not be used to replace your annual screening mammogram.

Does an Abbreviated Breast MRI see different information than 3D mammography?

Yes, MRI and mammography use different technologies to detect breast cancer. For example, calcifications (potential early stage of breast cancer) can only be seen on your mammogram, while it is easier to spot masses in women with extremely dense breast tissue using MRI.

Can I alternate abbreviated breast MRI and 3D mammograms?

IMI recommends annual mammography. There are no national guidelines for AB-MRI at this time. We recommend discussing with your doctor to decide if an abbreviated breast MRI is needed in conjunction with your annual mammogram for breast cancer screening.

AB-MRI is meant to be used in conjunction with an annual 3D screening mammogram. Our breast imaging radiologists stand by the guideline that all women should have an annual 3D screening mammogram starting at age 40.

Additional screening options for dense breasts: see ABUS

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