MRI Guided Core Needle Biopsy

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We offer the full breadth of services to screen for and diagnose breast cancer. To learn more about breast imaging services, call 310-301-6800.

MRI Guided Breast Biopsy is considered a minimally invasive alternative to surgical biopsy.  It is performed to evaluate a suspicious finding seen on a breast MRI. It is completed on an outpatient basis with minimal discomfort and recovery time. You will be awake throughout the procedure. Biopsies are the only definitive way to confirm that a breast abnormality is benign (non-cancerous) or cancerous.

Does the MRI Biopsy require contrast?

In order for the abnormality to be identified and targeted for biopsy, contrast is required. The contrast is called gadolinium and is injected into the arm vein.

What to Expect

  • The procedure takes up to 2 hours; however, most of that time is for preparation and setup.
  • An IV will be placed to administer contrast prior to the procedure, similar to your bilateral breast MRI exam.
  • You will lie on your stomach on the MRI scanner table with a hole through which the breast is placed and compressed. Your breast is compressed through the duration of the procedure. The radiologist and the technologist will work from your side.
  • The radiologist performing the procedure will have studied your MRI to become familiar with the location of the abnormal tissue in your breast.
  • You will then enter the MRI machine for a scan, and contrast will be administered through your IV. Similar to when you had your bilateral breast MRI, there will be loud noises during the time you are in the MRI scanner.
  • The skin on your breast will be cleaned; then a local anesthetic is injected with very fine needle. You may feel a slight sting.
  • A small nick is made in your skin and a needle is inserted through the nick. Because of the local anesthetic, most patients report only a small amount of pressure during the biopsy.
  • The radiologist will confirm needle placement prior to biopsy with additional MRI images.
  • When the radiologist has confirmed that adequate samples have been retrieved, a microclip will be placed into the biopsy site. The microclip will mark the biopsy site for future reference.
  • After the needle is removed, compression will be applied to stop any bleeding and the site will be covered with sterile steri-stripes. A post biopsy mammogram will be obtained to verify the biopsy microclip location. This procedure requires no stitches. An ice pack will also be applied.

After the Procedure

  • Before leaving the department, you will be given instructions for biopsy aftercare that are specific to your individual needs. A bruise in the area of the biopsy usually develops and then resolves over the following 2-3 weeks. Your breast should heal quickly, leaving almost no sign of the procedure.
  • We recommend keeping the incision area clean and dry for the next 24 hours following your procedure (i.e. no showering). We recommend avoiding swimming for the next 7 days.
  • We recommend avoiding strenuous activity for the next few days following the procedure.
  • If you have not been contacted with your results within 5 days, please contact the physician who ordered the biopsy for results.