Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast offers valuable information about many breast conditions that cannot be obtained by other imaging modalities, such as mammography or ultrasound.
UCSF's Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging offers pioneering breast MR techniques developed by Dr. Nola Hylton, an internationally recognized expert in the advancement and clinical optimization of MRI for breast cancer detection, diagnosis and staging.
MRI of the breast is not a replacement for other screening techniques, but rather a supplemental tool for detecting and staging breast cancer and other breast abnormalities.
Breast MRI is a very sensitive tool to determine the extent of disease. Although it is not as specific as mammography or ultrasound, MRI has been shown to detect small lesions that are sometimes missed by mammography, and MRI can successfully image the dense breast (usually found in younger women) and breasts with implants.
The UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion is one of the few locations in the nation with a dedicated breast MRI table, where state-of-the art 1.5T and 3.0T MRI scanners are used to screen high-risk patients for diseases of the breast. In addition, UCSF was the first insitution in Northern California to install a large bore 3.0T Siemens Verio MR scanner, which has a 500 pound table limit and 70cm bore size. The larger bore size and increased table limit is more comfortable for all patients and accommodates larger patients who might not otherwise be able to obtain a breast MRI.
Every breast MRI image at UCSF is read by two different radiologists whose focus is breast imaging. This means that specialists who receive breast MRI readings from UCSF are able to make very sound clinical decisions for their patients.
Dr. Bonnie Joe, Chief of Women's Imaging, discusses getting a breast MRI.
Information on how to prepare for your exam.