Breast MRIs

University Breast Health Imaging

What is MRI of the Breast?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive imaging test that helps radiologists diagnose early breast cancer. MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of the breast. MRI does not use ionizing radiation (x-rays).

Why is this being recommended for me?

Annual breast MRI screening is recommended in women who are high risk for developing breast cancer. MRI can help detect small breast cancers that may not be seen on a regular mammogram.  But, MRI does not take the place of an annual mammogram. 

What are the benefits vs. risks?


  • MRI is valuable in finding early breast cancer in high-risk individuals
  • MRI can successfully image the dense breast tissue common in younger women
  • MRI detects many small cancers not visible with mammogram


  • Breast MRI can result in a false-positive finding. This means that the test sometimes results in more studies and possibly even biopsy for something in the breast that turns out to be non-cancerous.
  • This is an expensive test. But, insurance is likely to approve it.
  • The MRI test poses almost no risk to the average patient when safety guidelines are followed

How can I get a breast MRI?

Talk with your regular doctor and ask them to order the test.