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|Lumps or abnormalities in the breast are often detected by physical examination, mammography or other imaging studies. However, it is not always possible to tell from these imaging tests whether a growth is benign or cancerous. In MRI-guided breast biopsy, magnetic resonance imaging is used to help guide the radiologist's instruments to the site of the abnormal growth.
This procedure is most often performed by a specially trained breast radiologist and done on an outpatient basis. You will lie face down on a moveable exam table and the affected breast or breasts will be positioned into openings in the table. A nurse or technologist will insert an intravenous (IV) line into a vein in your hand or arm and contrast material will be given intravenously.
Your breast will be gently compressed between two compression plates, one of which is marked with a grid structure. Using computer software, the radiologist measures the position of the lesion with respect to the grid and calculates the position and depth of the needle placement.
A local anesthetic will be injected into the breast to numb it. A very small nick is made in the skin at the site where the biopsy needle is to be inserted. The radiologist then inserts the needle, advances it to the location of the abnormality and MR imaging is performed to verify its position.
Tissue samples are then removed. This procedure is usually completed within 45 minutes. You will be awake during your biopsy and should have little or no discomfort. Most women report little or no pain and no scarring on the breast. Some women find that the major discomfort of the procedure is from lying on their stomach for the length of the procedure, which can be reduced by strategically placed cushions.