Breast MRI has been shown to be highly accurate in the detection of breast cancer. It is currently recommended for women who have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, those who are at high risk due to a family history of breast cancer, or who have one of the "breast cancer genes."
Breast MRI will often identify abnormalities suspicious for cancer that can't be seen on mammograms or breast ultrasound. When this occurs, an MRI directed biopsy is needed. During this procedure, images are obtained to identify the abnormality. Using the MRI images for guidance, a specially designed biopsy needle is placed in the targeted area and tissue samples are obtained. Following the tissue sampling, a metallic marker is placed so that the biopsy site can be seen on mammograms in the event that cancer is diagnosed and a lumpectomy is needed.
Needle biopsies of the breast are now considered the preferred technique for performing breast biopsies since they are minimally invasive and allow patients to avoid open surgical procedures if the abnormality seen on imaging is not found to be cancerous. Prior to performing a biopsy, our radiologist will determine which type of needle biopsy (ultrasound, stereotactic or MRI) is the most accurate and easiest way to perform the procedure. If the abnormality can only be identified on MRI, we will advise you and your doctor to have the biopsy performed using MRI guidance. Lumpectomies and mastectomies should only be performed for abnormalities proven to be cancerous based on biopsy results. Needle biopsies allow that diagnosis to be made using minimally invasive techniques.
When you schedule this procedure, we will ask several screening questions to make sure you are not taking blood thinners, aspirin or other medications that could increase the risk of bleeding during the biopsy. Please be sure to tell our scheduling staff about all the medications, vitamins or dietary supplements that you take. If necessary, we may consult with your doctor on whether it is safe for you to temporarily stop medications that could increase your risk of bleeding.
On the day of your biopsy, you will meet with one of Larchmont's radiologists, who will explain the procedure and answer your questions. The radiologists performing this procedure are trained in all aspects of breast imaging (mammography, ultrasound and MRI), and have advanced training in breast biopsy techniques.
MRI scans to precisely locate the suspicious tissue and plan the procedure will be performed and local anesthesia will be administered to the biopsy area. The MRI procedure takes about one hour with most of the time spent in the initial consultation with the radiologist and performing the preliminary imaging. The actual needle biopsy only takes a few minutes. Following the procedure, we will hold pressure over the biopsy site to assure that any bleeding has stopped and then a mammogram will be performed to document the placement of the marking clip placed during the biopsy. You will then meet with the radiologist who performed the procedure to discuss post biopsy instructions and have your questions answered. You should plan on spending a total of about two hours in our office. The specimen obtained will be sent to a pathologist for examination and you will receive the final results within several days. If cancer is found, our radiologist will consult with your doctor to help facilitate referral to a breast surgeon.