What is the normal appearance of the intramammary and axillary lymph nodes on magnetic resonance mammography (breast MRI)?

Updated: Feb 25, 2019
  • Author: Preeti Gupta, MD, FRCR; Chief Editor: Eugene C Lin, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Normal intramammary and axillary nodes may enhance moderately intensely, either slowly or rapidly. They may even show a washout curve in the absence of malignancy. Therefore, the enhancement pattern is generally not useful for distinguishing benign nodes from involved nodes.

A node may be diagnosed with confidence on MR images by the presence of a fatty hilum and a sharply defined smooth contour. Careful comparison with the matching mammograms sometimes increases the diagnostic confidence if the typical mammographic appearance of the node can be demonstrated in the corresponding position.


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