An MRI-guided breast biopsy is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure used to obtain tissue samples for microscopic examination. MRI guidance is used to find the area, which usually cannot be felt. The radiologist removes samples of breast tissue using a special needle. These tissue samples are sent to the pathologist for review. The patient's healthcare provider will receive a pathology report several days after the biopsy and will review the results with the patient.
How to prepare for an MRI-guided breast biopsy
- There are no diet restrictions, eat and drink as usual.
- Take usual medications on exam day
- Aspirin and anticoagulants increase the risk of bleeding and bruising.
- Patients taking anticoagulants (blood-thinners) or aspirin should contact the doctor managing those medications to see if they can safely stop them prior to the biopsy
- Herbal substances that affect bleeding, such as Gingko biloba, should be stopped two weeks prior to the breast biopsy
- Advise Providence Imaging Center's scheduler of allergies to latex, lidocaine, as well as any history of anticoagulants, prior to appointment
- Wear a supportive bra
- Check in about 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment time
What to expect during the procedure
Once checked in and registered, you will be taken to a dressing room, where you will remove your shirt and bra and put on a front-opening smock. If desired, you will also be given a robe. A locker is available to secure personal items. You will then wait comfortably until the technologist escorts you to the MRI room.
The technologist will review the procedure with you, answer any questions, and have you sign a consent form.
Your skin will be cleaned before the radiologist administers lidocaine, a local anesthetic. This will numb an area about the size of a quarter. A very small incision will be made and several tissue samples will be obtained.
During the procedure you will be informed about what is occurring. If you experience discomfort, the radiologist can administer more local anesthetic during the procedure.
During the biopsy, a medication is administered to aid you in holding still, since this procedure can require more time than other biopsy procedures. You will lie on your stomach on a padded table with the breast suspended through an opening . An MRI scan of the breast will be done to locate the biopsy area. The radiologist will perform the biopsy from the side; the affected breast will be slightly compressed during the procedure. Additional images may be taken after the procedure.
Tissue samples are then sent to the pathology department for processing, interpretation and reporting.
After the procedure
- The radiologist or technologist will apply pressure to the biopsy area for several minutes to stop any bleeding; the biopsy area will be closed with a steri-strip and sterile dressing
- The patient will be given a small ice pack for her bra to help reduce bruising. It is recommended to apply ice on and off the rest of the day.
- Patients should be able to drive or return to work following the biopsy
- Avoid heavy lifting for the next three days to prevent bleeding or extended bruising.
- Take a non-aspirin pain reliever, like Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, etc., for discomfort. Avoid aspirin for 48 hours
- Remove dressings and shower the morning after the biopsy; leave the steri-strips in place, which should begin to peel off on their own in four to five days
- Check the biopsy area daily; contact Providence Imaging Center if there is excessive pain, bleeding, swelling, drainage, redness, or the area is warm to touch. If unable to reach PIC, the patient should contact her healthcare provider.
Results and follow-up
Your clinician's office should contact you with the results of your biopsy about 3-5 working days after the procedure. Follow-up imaging may be recommended six months post biopsy. Please call the PIC nurse at (907) 212-3607 if there are questions about the procedure or results.
MRI Guided Breast biopsy instructions (downloadable PDF)