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An Introduction to the Role of MRI in Breast Imaging

Suzan Lowe, BA, RT(R)(MR)

*Senior Research Technologist, Department of Radiology-Magnetic Resonance Imaging, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Address Correspondence to: Suzan Lowe RT(R)(MR), University of Michigan Health System, 1500 E. Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109. E-mail: srohrer@umich.edu.

Disclosures: Ms Lowe reports having no financial or advisory relationships with corporate organizations related to this activity.


Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women in the United States. The National Cancer Institute estimates 232 340 new cases of breast cancer in 2013. Although the most current statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report the incidence of breast cancer has decreased by 0.9% per year from 2000 to 2009, among women there is still a need to diagnose breast cancer as efficiently and effectively as possible. Early detection is one of the best means of increasing survival rates; therefore, it is important to investigate new modalities to aid in the detection of breast cancer. While mammography remains the primary modality for breast cancer detection, there is a growing trend to incorporate other imaging modalities in the detection and evaluation of breast cancer. Because of the growing overlap between modalities, radiologic technologists from a variety of backgrounds may find it helpful to have a basic understanding of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and its role in breast imaging. The purpose of this article is to familiarize both MRI technologists and non-MRI technologists with the basics of MRI and its use in breast imaging.

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