Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for Breast Imaging

Breast MRI

Breast MRI is the latest and most
sensitive study to date in the detection
of breast cancer.

You may be called back for additional images (either with more mammography and/or ultrasound) based on the radiologist’s interpretation. Approximately one in 10 women are called back for additional testing. Because these are single snapshot images, sometimes overlapping tissues makes areas in your mammogram look different from one year compared to another. Sometimes the radiologist needs a closer view of areas in your breast in order to make an assessment.

For every 1,000 women who have a screening mammogram:

  • 100 are asked to return to get more mammography or ultrasound images
  • 20 are recommended for needle biopsy
  • 5 are diagnosed with breast cancer

If the radiologist recommends more imaging, you may be contacted by specialized staff at our scheduling department to set up additional testing. Your health care provider’s office may prefer to give you a call to let you know as well.

What is Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)?

Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses magnetic fields and computer processing to create an multiple images of the breast. There is no compression or radiation exposure. It is more invasive than mammography because a contrast agent is given through an IV before the procedure. The contrast is used to “light up” areas that have increased blood flow, which occurs in breast cancers but also some benign breast diseases.

It’s important to know that breast MRI is best used in conjunction with a mammogram and cannot replace it.

Common reasons why a Breast MRI is performed

  1. High risk screening - The American Cancer Society (ACS) and National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommend yearly screening with mammography plus breast MRI for some women at higher risk of breast cancer, including those with:
    • A BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation
    • A first-degree relative with a BRCA1/2 mutation, but personally have not been tested for BRCA1/2 mutations
    • A strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer (for example, two or more first-degree relatives with breast cancer or two or more with ovarian cancer)
    • Radiation treatment to the chest area before age 30
    • Li-Fraumeni, Cowden or Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome (or a first-degree relative with one of these syndromes or family with a known p53 or PTEN gene mutation)
    • A greater than 20 percent lifetime risk of invasive breast cancer (Estimate your lifetime risk or learn more about risk.) (link to risk assessment)
  2. Patients with clear or bloody nipple discharge with negative or benign mammogram and ultrasound.
  3. Evaluating in extent of disease in patients recently diagnosed with breast cancer
  4. Assessing for response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in patients with breast cancer
  5. Patients with dense breasts may elect to have a screening MRI as a supplemental exam
  6. Evaluate breast implants for rupture.

Locations for Breast MRI Imaging at MyMichigan Health

Have Questions?

We can help, contact one of our program coordinators today.

Center for Women's Health (989) 837-9070

MyMichigan Medical Center Alma (989) 466-7253

MyMichigan Medical Center Alpena (989) 356-7576

MyMichigan Medical Center West Branch (989) 343-1126

Or email at

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