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    MRI Breast Biopsy

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    What is a MRI Breast Biopsy?

    A MRI breast biopsy uses computer-guided imagery to precisely position a biopsy needle within the breast. In this special type of biopsy, the radiologist samples breast tissue so that the patient may avoid surgery.

    Note: Medications containing aspirin, Advil (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen), Vitamin E, and Fish Oil should be stopped for at least 4 days before the biopsy. If you are taking anticoagulants (blood-thinning medications) you must ask your prescribing doctor when to stop taking the medication before the procedure.

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    On the Day of Your Procedure

    • Eat lightly before the procedure.


    • Arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment.


    • Report to the MRI Department at 2351 Clay Street (Stanford Bldg.), Room 100.


    • You can come alone or bring family and/or friends. They can wait in the waiting room during the procedure.


    • You may not drive yourself home after the procedure. Make sure someone can pick you up after your biopsy.


    • You sign a consent form stating that you understand the procedure.

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    During Your Procedure

    • A staff member shows you to a private room where you change from the waist up.


    • The nurse puts an IV (needle) in your arm.


    • You lie face down on a table.


    • The MRI scanner takes pictures of the breast. Then, contrast dye is put into your arm through the IV and more pictures are taken. These scans help the radiologist find the area to be sampled.


    • The radiologist gives you a shot to numb your breast and then makes a ┬╝-inch cut so that the biopsy needle can be guided easily into your breast.


    • Using the MRI pictures as a guide, the radiologist takes several tissue samples through the needle. A tiny clip made may be inserted through the biopsy needle to mark the area being sampled. The procedure is painless for most women, although you may feel some vibration or pressure when the samples are taken.


    • After the biopsy is done, the nurse applies antibiotic ointment, Steri-Strips® (incision tapes), a Band-Aid®, and an ice pack.

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    After Your Procedure

    • You must have someone drive you home after the procedure.


    • Before you go, your nurse will discuss how to care for yourself at home and gives you written instructions and supplies, if needed.


    • A nurse from the Breast Health Center calls you the afternoon of the biopsy to schedule a mammogram and follow-up appointment. When you come back for your appointment, please register in the Lobby of 3698 California St., and then take the elevator to the 2nd floor.


    • Your biopsy results will be available in 2 - 4 days. You get the results from the Breast Health Center nurse, the radiologist, or from your referring doctor.

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    Caring for Yourself at Home

    • Keep the ice pack on your skin for 20 minutes, then remove it and place it in the freezer for 10 minutes, repeating for 3 hours. Placing the pack within your bra is the easiest way to keep it in place.


    • We suggest you go home and rest for the remainder of the day. Avoid strenuous activities for 24 hours.

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    More Ways to Learn

    • Call (415) 600-6281 or (415) 600-1914 for more information or to arrange a free consultation with a nurse at the Breast Health Center.


    • Visit the American Cancer SocietyOpens new window site for more information about breast cancer.


    Produced by the Center for Patient and Community Education in association with the Breast Health Centers at California Pacific Medical Center. Last updated: 8/08


    Funded by: A generous donation from the Mr. and Mrs. Arthur A. Ciocca Foundation.

    Note: This information is not meant to replace any information or personal medical advice which you get directly from your doctor(s). If you have any questions about this information, such as the risks or benefits of the treatment listed, please ask your doctor(s).

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