MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) guided breast biopsy uses images generated by radio waves to guide a radiologist’s insertion of a needle or other small instrument that extracts samples from the precise location of suspicious tissue. After the biopsy, the tissue samples are tested in a laboratory to determine whether they are cancerous.
MRI-guided breast biopsy is often the best procedure to use when the suspicious tissue was originally identified through an MRI, which sometimes makes abnormalities visible that are difficult to see via other imaging methods.
An RMI Nurse Navigator will contact you prior to your appointment to discuss how to prepare. Generally, you can expect to wear a gown that RMI will provide. You should also inform us before scheduling your appointment if you have any metallic surgical implants or accidentally implanted metallic objects (for examples, see our general MRI page.) You may need to remove any jewelry or accessories that could interfere with the radio waves.
During the exam, you will lie face down on a table combined with the MRI unit. The table is designed with special openings in which the breasts are positioned for the exam.
You will receive a local anesthetic to numb the breast so that you will feel little or no sensation when the biopsy needle is inserted.
MRI-guided breast biopsy is done on an outpatient basis and is virtually painless, taking about 45 minutes. We may recommend that you use a cold pack and over-the-counter pain medications to relieve any discomfort from mild swelling or bruising after the procedure. You should avoid strenuous activity for the first 24 hours, but you should otherwise be able to resume a normal routine.
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