Is a Breast MRI Better Than a Mammogram?

A breast MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging of the breast, is a method of testing that captures multiple images of the breast to help detect breast cancer and other abnormalities. A mammogram is a low-energy x-ray used to scan and screen for breast cancer. But which is better for detecting breast cancer and setting a patient on their best course for recovery?

At ZP Rags in New York, NY, we offer both of these screening tests to our patients. Breast MRIs and mammograms are both used to screen for breast cancer, and can both be used to guide needle biopsy procedures. Read on for a comparison of the two procedures, and contact us today to book an appointment. 

A woman talking to her doctor and looking at images after getting a breast MRI

Testing Process

The testing process for each of these procedures is very different. A mammogram requires a technologist to place each of your breasts on two plates in order to create a uniform breast thickness and get a clear picture. This process is fast. An MRI, on the other hand, will require you to insert an IV with a contrast dye to enhance the image. You are also required to lie face down for 45- 60 minutes while remaining as still as possible.

Level of Patient’s Risk

High-risk women and women with dense breast tissue are better suited for breast MRI because it provides more advanced imaging than a mammogram. Medium-risk women and low-risk women can get other types of screening done, such as a mammogram or ultrasound. A breast MRI is often used supplementally to help rule out any abnormalities that may have been found on a mammogram.

A female doctor talking to a woman who is sitting in her medical office.
Three medical technicians standing in front of an MRI machine and smiling.

Accuracy of the Test

Breast MRIs are more accurate and can provide more information than a mammogram or ultrasound. This also allows them to identify cancer in its very early stages. However, MRIs are more likely to give false positives than mammograms. You will need to consult a professional to figure out what the best testing options are for your unique situation.


Breast MRIs tend to be quite costly when compared to mammograms. This is largely due to the fact that MRIs are more likely to provide false positives than mammograms are. Mammograms can also give out false positives, but it is much rarer than MRIs. These false positives can require you to get more tests done, which costs you more money.

A young female doctor smiling at a patient while making notes on her writing pad.

The screening test you take is usually dependent on whether or not you are a high-risk patient. Ultimately, you will need to consult with your doctor to determine what the best testing option is for you. After that, contact ZP Rad in NY to schedule a screening appointment for breast cancer.