Introduction: For women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) undergoing breast-conserving surgery (BCS), the benefit of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) remains unknown. Here we examine the relationship of MRI and locoregional recurrence (LRR) and contralateral breast cancer (CBC) for DCIS treated with BCS, with and without radiotherapy (RT). Methods: A total of 2,321 women underwent BCS for DCIS from 1997 to 2010. All underwent mammography, and 596 (26 %) also underwent perioperative MRI; 904 women (39 %) did not receive RT, and 1,391 (61 %) did. Median follow-up was 59 months, and 548 women were followed for ≥8 years. The relationship between MRI and LRR was examined using multivariable analysis. Results: There were 184 LRR events; 5- and 8-year LRR rates were 8.5 and 14.6 % (MRI), respectively, and 7.2 and 10.2 % (no-MRI), respectively (p = 0.52). LRR was significantly associated with age, menopausal status, margin status, RT, and endocrine therapy. After controlling for these variables and family history, presentation, number of excisions, and time period of surgery, there remained no trend toward association of MRI and lower LRR [hazard ratio (HR) 1.18, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.79-1.78, p = 0.42]. Restriction of analysis to the no-RT subgroup showed no association of MRI with lower LRR rates (HR 1.36, 95 % CI 0.78-2.39, p = 0.28). No difference in 5- or 8-year rates of CBC was seen between the MRI (3.5 and 3.5 %) and no-MRI (3.5 and 5.1 %) groups (p = 0.86). Conclusions: We observed no association between perioperative MRI and lower LRR or CBC rates in patients with DCIS, with or without RT. In the absence of evidence that MRI improves outcomes, the routine perioperative use of MRI for DCIS should be questioned.