Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is an MRI on my breast better than a mammogram?"
How do the two differ?
There are multiple ways to evaluate a patient's breast, but it depends on what you are looking for. If you are asking about breast cancer specifically, no single modality is the best for everyone. Mammograms, Ultrasound, and MRI are all used on different patients under different clinical indications. Mammogram has many advantages when used for screening for breast cancer. It is quick and less expensive than other modalities, and also does not require the equipment and expertise that are necessary with the other two. Ultrasound is valuable for younger patients with more dense breasts, and is also less expensive, but it is somewhat operator dependent (in addition to other difficulties). It is generally not the "final word" on breast cancer. MRI can be very helpful at defining soft tissue variations and masses in dense breasts or in patients who have some reason to do more than the routine mammogram. However, they are very expensive and not everyone can tolerate holding still for a long time in a narrow tunnel as is often required. Your doctor or surgeon will be able to best explain the different options that are available, and make a recommendation about which is best for you. Please speak to him or her.
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