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Liver MRI is recommended as the preoperative imaging strategy in liver metastatic colorectal cancers.The aim of the study was to assess for the first time the use of liver MRI in a French population-based cancer registry.All liver-only metastatic colorectal cancers resected for their primary tumour diagnosed between 2009 and 2013 were included. Nonconditional logistic regression was used to search for associations between the MRI order and the characteristics of patients and tumours.The primary tumour and liver metastases were resected for cure in 30% (69/233) of cases, and in 72% of these liver MRI was performed before resection of the liver metastases. Preoperative MRI ordering was not significantly higher in patients younger than 70 years when compared with that in older patients. Among patients who did not undergo resection of their liver metastasis, 22% had undergone a liver MRI. After adjustment for comorbidities, the probability of having undergone an MRI was higher for patients managed in the university hospital (P=0.004) and lower in those managed in nonuniversity hospitals (P=0.002) compared with the mean of odds for all facilities. Patients more than or equal to 70 years were 2.4 times less likely than younger patients to undergo an MRI (P=0.043).Liver MRI was underused in patients with colorectal liver-only synchronous metastasis undergoing curative resection for metastases and in elderly patients.