This involves taking a small sample of tissue (cells) through a needle which is guided into place by MRI.


When you arrive, you will be asked to fill out a safety questionnaire and a form that our doctors use in assessing your case.

You will lie in the scanner on your front with your breasts in a special coil (the same position as the diagnostic scan) and enter the scanner feet first. You will have a normal diagnostic scan which will involve the injection of contrast dye (Gadovist) to locate the area to be biopsied.

During the procedure, the bed you are lying on will move in and out of the machine for additional imaging to ensure the correct area is being targeted, and for placement of the biopsy needle.

The scan is noisy, so you will be given headphones and a buzzer to press if you want to talk to the technologist at any time. It is important that you lie extremely still.

Once the biopsy has been completed, a site marker is placed within the biopsy site while you are still in the MRI machine, so that the area may be identified by mammogram or ultrasound in the future if any surgery is required. The site marker is made of either titanium or stainless steel; it is inert (inactive) and safe to stay in your body. It does not ‘beep’ at airport security. A mammogram will be done after the site marker has been placed to confirm its position.

After the biopsy, a nurse will compress (gently push down) on the biopsy site for 10 – 15 minutes, and then place steri-strip bandages on the small skin incision (cut). You will have a bruise that typically lasts for two weeks. You can manage bruising or discomfort with compression and ice-packs and pain relief such as paracetamol if needed.

Before your Scan

Please tell the staff when booking your appointment if you are on blood-thinning agents – for example Warfarin, Aspirin, and fish or krill oil. We may ask you to stop these medications for the procedure or consult with your specialist who is referring you.

Please fast (not eat or drink anything) for 4 hours before the procedure, as you will lie on your stomach for approximately 45 minutes.


The entire process (preparation and imaging) can take 45 – 60 minutes.

Risks / Side effects

As part of the MRI examination, you may need to have an injection of a contrast agent (dye) known as Gadolinium. This medication is administered intravenously (injection into vein) through a needle. Overall MRI contrast injection is a safe procedure. Occasionally patients feel a little nauseous but this only lasts momentarily. More serious allergic type reactions, although possible, are extremely rare. The staff in the MRI department are fully trained to deal with such a reaction should it occur.

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