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A 34-year-old member asked:

Can you tell me the difference between breast mri and mammography?

3 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Raj Syal
Dr. Raj Syalanswered
Obstetrics and Gynecology 34 years experience
Lots of differences: Mammogram looks for abnormal calcifications. Mri detects abnormally active tissue with the aid of contrast. Since cancer cells are more active, they absorb more of the contrast and can be seen on the MRI images. One is not better than the other. They each have a specific use.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Barry Rosen
General Surgery 35 years experience
About $2000: Mammograms are the"gold standard" for breast cancer screening because they miss few cancers (~10%) and are inexpensive. Mris are more sensitive than mammograms and are especially useful for women with very dense breast tissue, however they are very expensive. If you do get an MRI we still recommend mammograms because microcalcifications are better seen that way.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Tina Stein
Radiology 48 years experience
MRI more sensitive: Mammograms can miss up to 50% of cancers depending on the density of a woman's breasts. Mri's will miss less than 10% of cancers regardless of breast density. That being said, a woman over 40 should always get yearly mammograms which find the earliest form of breast cancer (dcis) sometimes not visible on mri. Average risk women do not qualify for insurance coverage of screening mammogram.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Last updated Jun 10, 2014

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