Breast MRI Biopsy is an interventional procedure to take a sample of breast tissue for further evaluation/testing.

When you arrive for your examination, you will be asked to fill out a safety questionnaire and a form that is used by our Doctors in assessing your individual case.

You will lie in the scanner on your front with your breasts in a special coil (the same as when you underwent your diagnostic scan) and enter the scanner feet-first. During the examination, 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 biopsy process, the bed you are lying on will be moved in and out of the MRI scanner for more imaging to make sure the correct region is being scanned, and for placement of the biopsy needle.

During the scan, you will need to be as still as possible. If you experience claustrophobia (fear of small places), please discuss this with us before your scan. If sedation (medication to relax you) is required, you will need to arrange for someone to drive you home.

MRI scanners make a loud knocking sound while the images are developed. To reduce the impact of the noise, you will be offered headphones or earplugs. You will also be offered a buzzer to press if you want to talk to the technologist at any time during the scan.

After the biopsy is completed, one of our trained nurses will compress the biopsy site for 10-15 minutes to minimise the bleeding and reduce bruising, and then place a bandage on the small skin incision. You will have a bruise that typically lasts for 2 weeks, and you may manage any bruising or discomfort with compression and ice-packs and pain relief such as paracetamol if needed.

Once the biopsy has been completed, a site marker (small metallic marker of 1-2mm) is placed within the biopsy site whilst you are still in the MRI scanner, so that the area may be identified by either MMG or Ultrasound in the future. A site marker may also be useful if any surgery is required, depending upon the biopsy result. 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 performed after the site marker has been placed to confirm its position.

Risks / Side Effects

As part of the MRI examination, you will 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.

Before your Scan

When you make your appointment, it is important to advise our staff if you are on blood-thinning agents – for example, Warfarin, Aspirin, and fish or krill oil. We may ask you to stop these medications before the procedure or consult with your specialist who is referring you.

When making the appointment, you will be told to fast for 4 hours before the procedure, as you will lie on your stomach for approximately 45 minutes.

Because MRI uses large and strong magnets to create images, it is important that jewellery such as watches, chains, earrings and other metallic items such as eye-glasses are removed before the scan. You may also be asked to change into an examination gown for your safety and to make sure your clothing does not affect the images and diagnostic quality of the scan.


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

Are you ready to make your MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) appointment?

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