MR Guided Breast Biopsy

Lumps or abnormalities in the breast are often detected by physical examinations or imaging tests, such as mammography, ultrasound or MRI. However, it is not always possible to tell from these imaging tests whether a growth is benign or malignant.

A breast biopsy is performed to remove some tissue, either surgically or through a less invasive procedure involving a hollow needle, from a suspicious area in the breast in order to examine the tissue under a microscope to determine a diagnosis.

A MR-guided breast biopsy is performed when the abnormal area in the breast is not felt during a physical exam, making it difficult to locate the lesion by hand (called palpation) or if it has not been seen by mammography or ultrasound.

An MRI of the breasts.

In MR-guided breast biopsy, magnetic resonance imaging is used to help guide the interventional radiologist to the site of the abnormal growth. It is not designed to remove the entire lesion, but a very small lesion may be removed in the process of the biopsy.

Our team of expert physicians, nurses and technologists is headed by Rola Saouaf, MD, Chief of Body MRI.

Why Choose the S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center for a biopsy?

What are some common uses of the procedure?

An MR-guided breast biopsy is most helpful when MR imaging shows a breast abnormality such as:

  • A suspicious mass not identified by other imaging techniques
  • A region of abnormal enhancement

What can I expect during the procedure?

An MR-guided breast biopsy is performed by a specially trained breast radiologist on an outpatient basis.

You will lay face down on a movable exam table and the affected breast or breasts will be positioned into the opening on the table. Contrast is administered by IV to visualize the lesion similar to a diagnostic study.

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. The automated mechanism is activated, with vacuum assistance which draws the tissue into the channel and subsequently cuts it.

After the sampling, a small clip will be placed to mark the biopsy site and the needle is removed.

Procedure Information

The S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center provides a full range of advanced imaging, both radiology and cardiology, as well as interventional radiology and interventional tumor (oncology) treatments to the greater Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, Encino, Mid-Cities, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Studio City, Toluca Lake, and West Hollywood.