MRI-Guided Breast Biopsy

When an abnormality is detected within the breast, a biopsy may be required to determine whether it is benign or cancerous. A breast biopsy (also called a needle biopsy) is the standard procedure to remove a very small amount of the suspect tissue for further analysis.

However, when the abnormal area within the breast is too small to be felt by hand, MRI-guided breast biopsy is often performed. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used by the interventional radiologist to help accurately guide the biopsy needle within the breast. It is often used when an MRI of the breast shows an abnormality that is not detected by another imaging technique.

WIC performs minimally invasive biopsies that will allow you to resume normal activities within a few hours after completion of the procedure.

The Procedure

Preparing for an MRI-guided biopsy is similar to preparing for an MRI. You will be asked to wear a gown during the exam and you many not have any metal on you when in the exam room. You will also be given a contrast material (like gadolinium) intravenously which will enhance the view of the suspicious area.

You will lie face down on a moveable exam table. Your breast will be gently compressed. Using computer software, the radiologist will measure the position of the suspicious area and calculate the position and depth of needle placement. Once the sample is taken, it will be sent to the lab for analysis.

Preparation and Special Instructions

If you are taking aspirin or a blood thinner, your physician will advise you to stop these medications five days before the procedure.

Aleve • Alka-Setzer • Aspirin • Advil • BC or Goody’s Powder • Bextra • Celebrax • Coumadin or Warfarin • Excedrin • Ibuprofen • Levaquin • Mobic • Multivitamin • Naprosyn • Plavix • Vitamin E • Vioxx

Regular medications should be taken as prescribed by physician. A comfortable two piece garment should be worn. Please avoid using talcum powder or deodorant on the day of your biopsy.

What to Expect

You will be awake during your biopsy, and should have little or no discomfort. Generally the biopsy is completed in less than an hour. It is not necessary to close the tiny skin incision with sutures; a small compression dressing will do. Most patients are able to resume their usual activities later the same day.

A pathologist will examine the tissue specimens after they are processed. A definite diagnosis will be available within a few days. When the final biopsy findings are available, you may have a session with your physician to discuss the results and decide together on the next step.