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.

A breast biopsy is performed to remove some cells—either surgically or through a less invasive procedure involving a hollow needle—from a suspicious area in the breast and examine them under a microscope to determine a diagnosis. Image-guided needle biopsy is not designed to remove the entire lesion, but most of a very small lesion may be removed in the process of biopsy.

Image-guided biopsy is performed when the abnormal area in the breast is too small to be felt, making it difficult to locate the lesion by hand (called palpation).


MRI-guided breast biopsies use magnetic resonance imaging to guide the Radiologist to the site of the breast abnormality.


  • Discuss any medication you are taking with your physician. You will be asked to discontinue the use of blood-thinning medications, including aspirin and aspirin-like products, prior to your biopsy procedure. If you are taking medications such as heparin, coumadin, Warfarin, or Plavix you will need to check with your doctor who prescribed them about discontinuing their use prior to and after the biopsy day.
  • Wear clothing that is METAL FREE, comfortable and easy to remove from the waist up. A gown will be provided for your use.
  • Do not use deodorant, underarm powders or creams before the procedure. They may interfere with the quality of the images taken during your procedure.
  • Eat a light meal before your procedure. Limit your liquids, so that you do not have to use the restroom during the procedure.
  • The majority of patients are able to drive themselves to and from this appointment, but some prefer to have a friend or relative accompany them to their appointment.


  • At the time of your appointment, you will be assisted to a dressing room. A gown will be provided for your use.
  • You will need to remove all metal objects before you are scanned, including jewelry, hairpins, glasses, clothes with zippers, keys, etc. The magnet will erase any credit cards.
  • You will be positioned face down on a moveable exam table and the affected breast or breasts will be positioned into openings in the table. A technologist will insert an intravenous (IV) line into a vein in your hand or arm and the contrast material gadolinium will be given intravenously. This is similar to a regular breast MRI.
  • Your breast will be gently compressed between two compression plates (similar to those used in a diagnostic MRI exam), 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 for needle placement.
  • After injecting a local anesthetic 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 guides the needle to the location of the abnormality and MR imaging is performed to verify the needle position.
  • Tissue samples are then removed using a vacuum-assisted device. Vacuum pressure is used to pull tissue from the breast into the sampling chamber of the biopsy needle. Typically, 8 to 10 samples of tissue are collected.
  • After the core samples have been obtained, a small marker may be placed within the breast at the biopsy site so the area can be located in the future if necessary.
  • Once the biopsy is complete, a small bandage is placed over the skin nick. No sutures are required. This procedure is usually completed within 45 minutes to one hour.
  • Afterwards, a 2-view mammogram will be taken.

For your convenience, please print and fill out the forms below and bring them with you to your appointment. Or you may complete them when you arrive.

Patient Registration Form
Breast Implant Consent Form