5 doctors weighed in:
Does a bilateral breast mri's also see if lymph nodes are ok?
5 doctors weighed in

Dr. Sean Canale
Breast Surgery
2 doctors agree
In brief: Maybe
The axillary nodes (actually the whole chest and upper abdomen) are included in the bmri images but the test is focused on the breast tissue.
The bmri may show enlarged or even abnormal (lacking normal architecture) nodes but can't definitively tell if there are cancer cells present. The normal healing/inflam response to bx will swell nodes. Pathologic eval/biopsy of the nodes is definitive.

In brief: Maybe
The axillary nodes (actually the whole chest and upper abdomen) are included in the bmri images but the test is focused on the breast tissue.
The bmri may show enlarged or even abnormal (lacking normal architecture) nodes but can't definitively tell if there are cancer cells present. The normal healing/inflam response to bx will swell nodes. Pathologic eval/biopsy of the nodes is definitive.
Dr. Sean Canale
Dr. Sean Canale
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Dr. Michael Gabor
Diagnostic Radiology
In brief: Grossly abnormal
lymph nodes(enlarged, distorted) are easily detected by MRI.
However, MRI cannot detect microscopic invasion of lymph nodes. Also, lymph node enlargement is non-specific, meaning there can be benign reasons for enlargement. So, MRI is not considered definitive for lymph node evaluation, although it can be very helpful.

In brief: Grossly abnormal
lymph nodes(enlarged, distorted) are easily detected by MRI.
However, MRI cannot detect microscopic invasion of lymph nodes. Also, lymph node enlargement is non-specific, meaning there can be benign reasons for enlargement. So, MRI is not considered definitive for lymph node evaluation, although it can be very helpful.
Dr. Michael Gabor
Dr. Michael Gabor
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In brief: Yes
Most breast MRI exams will include lymph nodes.

In brief: Yes
Most breast MRI exams will include lymph nodes.
Dr. Stephen Saponaro
Dr. Stephen Saponaro
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