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MRI-Guided Breast Biopsy  

Magnetic resonance imaging is used to enhance precision during a breast biopsy.  

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided breast biopsy is a procedure in which imaging technology is used to pinpoint the location of a mass or irregular tissue within the breast. This allows for a minimally invasive approach when collecting tissue samples for testing and the most accurate results possible.  MRI is a trusted imaging method that utilizes a magnetic field and radio wave energy to produce detailed pictures of breast tissue and other internal structures. It is considered a safe procedure, as ionizing radiation is not used.  

When Is an MRI-Guided Breast Biopsy Recommended?   

The primary purpose of MRI-guided breast biopsy test is to diagnose or rule out breast cancer. For instance, a physician may order a breast biopsy if:  

  • A lump is felt during a clinical breast exam  
  • An abnormal mass or hardened tissue is detected during a routine mammogram or breast ultrasound  
  • An area of tissue appears to be structurally distorted on a routine mammogram or breast ultrasound   

Breast biopsies can also diagnose non-cancerous breast conditions, such as fibroadenomas, sclerosing adenosis and cysts.  

What Happens During an MRI-Guided Breast Biopsy?  

An MRI-guided breast biopsy is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure. Here’s what it involves:  

  • In an MRI unit, the patient lies face-down on a special platform that has an opening to place the breasts through. 
  • Contrast material is administered through the patient’s intravenous (IV) line. This material helps outline abnormalities within the breast.  
  • The breast is compressed between two plates to capture images of the inside of the breast.  
  • Local anesthesia is injected into the breast to numb the area and prevent discomfort.  
  • According to the results of the MRI, a very tiny incision is made in the breast and a small needle is inserted to draw out samples of tissue.  
  • A very small stainless steel clip may be inserted at the biopsy site as a reference for follow-up care.   
  • The incisions are bandaged and the procedure is complete. No sutures are necessary.  

What Should I Expect?  

An MRI-guided breast biopsy may take up to an hour to complete. The magnetic field used during MRI is not dangerous, but it may cause some medical devices to malfunction. Because of this, it’s important to inform your medical team of any medical devices or metal accessories you have in your body prior to the procedure. Do not wear jewelry to your appointment.  

Following the biopsy, you’ll be advised to avoid strenuous activities for a few days and to keep the incision sites clean and dry. Scarring is uncommon, but possible. Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever and placing an icepack on your breast can help alleviate any minor soreness you may feel after the procedure.   

Tampa General Hospital excels in advanced breast health services, including biopsies assisted by MRI and other imaging technologies.