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MRI-guided Breast Biopsy

If a lesion is found during a breast MRI, an MRI-guided biopsy may be necessary to help fully evaluate the lesion and determine if it is benign or cancerous. During an MRI-guided breast biopsy, MRI imaging is used to help the radiologist guide the biopsy needle into the site of the abnormality. Tissue is removed for examination and diagnosis.

What You Need to Know

Metal is not allowed in the MRI room because the magnetic field in the scanner attracts metal. Even some fabrics contain small amounts of metal, which can cause burns. That’s why we ask all of our patients to change into scrubs for MRI exams. You will be given a locker to store your clothes, and anything else you may have with you during your exam. You will be asked to remove any metal objects—even small ones—including jewelry, watches or hair clips.

The technologist will review the MRI safety checklist with you. This is to make sure you don’t have any metal in your body that could cause problems during the test. These could include:   

  • Hearing aids
  • Body piercings
  • Metal implants (such as valves, clips, stents, joints or limbs)
  • Metal fragments (such as bullets, shrapnel or filings)
  • Skin patches that contain metal  
  • Insulin pumps
  • Implanted devices (such as pacemakers, neurostimulators, cochlear implants, drug pumps, cardioverter-defibrillator)
  • Pins or screws

For our full MRI safety checklist, click here.

What To Expect

  • We’ll give you a call before your appointment to talk through preparation instructions.
  • Please provide the name, address and phone number of any facility where you have had a prior mammogram. If you have images from previous exams, please bring them to your appointment. Our radiologist may need these prior images for comparison in order to make an accurate diagnosis.
  • Be sure to tell us if you are pregnant, nursing, or if there is a chance you may be pregnant. 
  • On the day of your exam, please arrive 15 minutes early for check-in. 
  • Please consider bringing someone with you to your biopsy procedure to drive you home.
  • A technologist will greet you and will go over a few health questions.
  • When you arrive, you will be led to a changing room and given a pair of scrubs to wear for your exam. You will be given a locker to store your clothes, and anything else you may have with you during your exam.
  • If your exam requires contrast (a special dye that helps highlight your anatomy), you will be given an IV in your arm or hand prior to your scan.
  • The technologist will help position you on a cushioned table. An imaging device called a “coil” will be placed around the area of the body to be scanned. The coil acts like an antenna to help capture high quality images of your body.    
  • Once you are comfortably positioned, the technologist will go out of the room to run the scanner from a computer located directly next to the scanner suite, visible through the viewing window. The technologist will communicate with you throughout the exam and check to see how you are doing.
  • Using computer software, the radiologist will measure the exact position of the lesion to ensure accurate needle placement.
  • The radiologist will then insert the needle, advance it to the location of the abnormality, and perform MRI imaging to verify its position.
  • Several tissue samples may be taken to send to the pathologist.
  • A tiny tissue marker will be placed in the breast to mark the biopsy area. You will not be able to feel the marker, but it will show up on future mammograms.
  • Once the biopsy is complete, the needle will be removed, pressure will be applied, and the skin will be covered with a dressing.
  • When your scan is complete, you’ll be escorted back to the changing room so you can change out of the scrubs and back into your clothing.
  • Once you have changed, your appointment is complete. You do not need to check out with the front desk when you leave.
  • After the exam, the tissue samples will be sent to a pathologist for final diagnosis.                    
  • You should follow up with your referring provider to discuss your results.

Contrast Breast MRI exams are ideally performed the week following your period.

Find MRI-guided Breast Biopsy services near you.

Find MRI-guided Breast Biopsy services near you.