Breast MRI, Breast Biopsy Info & Treatment, Clinic

What is MRI guided breast biopsy?

Breast biopsy using MRI is the latest technological development in the diagnosis of a breast mass. The procedure requires the use of an MRI to locate the position of the breast mass and perform a biopsy. The biopsy is done at the same time the mass is identified. The precise location of the mass by MRI offers an efficient method of obtaining a biopsy. Even masses located in different parts of the breast can easily be biopsied. MRI is excellent for evaluating the soft tissues and can identify breast lesions much earlier than other technology. The key to breast cancer treatment is early detection. The early diagnosis of breast lesions also prevents unnecessary surgery.

What is the success rate of MRI breast biopsy?

MRI breast scanning is the most sensitive imaging modality available, detecting suspicious lesions or breast cancer at the earliest possible stage of development with a 70-90 percent accuracy rate.

Who is a candidate for MRI breast biopsy?

Many women can benefit from an MRI breast biopsy, including those who:

  • Have a family history of breast cancer
  • Have undergone previous breast surgery
  • Have dense breast tissue who cannot get accurate screenings with other imaging technology
  • Are at a high risk for breast cancer
  • Are at high risk of breast cancer but who have negative mammogram and/or ultrasound results

Who actually performs the biopsy?

The MRI breast biopsy is performed by a radiologist. Conventional breast biopsy is performed by surgeons in the operating room. Once the procedure is complete, the results can be reviewed by your primary care physician.

Where is the procedure done?

The procedure is done in an MRI facility in the radiology department. This could be in a hospital or a scan center.

How is the procedure performed?

You will be asked to lie down on a table and the MRI will image your breasts. Once the imaging is complete, the location of any abnormal breast mass is identified by viewing the images generated. The location of the abnormality is then marked on the breast. A local anesthetic is applied to the skin, and then a needle is placed in the area and the sample is biopsied. Sometimes a slightly larger needle, which removes a small, cylindrical-shaped tissue sample, is used. Newer core needle technology uses a special vacuum-assisted needle to draw out tissue. The procedure takes about 30-40 minutes.

Is the procedure painful?

No, the procedure requires only a topical anesthetic and leaves little or no scarring.

Are there any complications of MRI breast biopsy?

The procedure is usually pain-free and there is minimal scarring with no large incisions.

What is the cost of MRI breast biopsy?

The procedure costs less than a surgical biopsy. Consult your local provider and insurance representative for more information about your particular cost.

What are advantages of MRI breast biopsy?

There are numerous benefits to MRI breast biopsy. MRI breast biopsy:

  • Is non-surgical, so less-invasive
  • Can biopsy extremely small detectable masses
  • Is faster than an open biopsy
  • Does not require general anesthesia
  • Allows for biopsy of lesions that are difficult to access even with open surgery
  • Has proven to be as reliable as open surgery for acquiring tissue samples that offer definitive pathological results
  • Does not cause scarring
  • Has minimal side-effects associated with it

What are disadvantages of MRI breast biopsy?

  • Individuals with any internal medical devices are unable to undergo MRI
  • MRI can be difficult to perform in very obese patients or patients who are not able to lie down flat
  • The presence of an implant or other metallic object often makes it difficult to obtain clear images, and patient movement can have the same effect
  • This is not a test recommended for pregnant females
  • Any patient with an ear implant is not a candidate for MRI
  • Any patient with a clip placed in a brain aneurysm should never get an MRI

What are the limitations of MRI breast biopsy?

MRI is not recommended to women who are pregnant. Even though there are no reports of harm to the fetus, the potential of damage to the fetus is always present. The MRI is only done for a pregnant female when the benefits of the procedure override the risks of pregnancy.

An alternative choice may be to use Ultrasound imaging.

The findings of an MRI scan always need to be interpreted by a physician along with the individual's physical findings and information from other tests.

MRI breast biopsy is not a replacement technology for surgery but another option.

By Staff
Updated: August 17, 2007

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