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A 31-year-old member asked:

Mri and a biopsy? what exactly can a dr see when doing a mri of my breasts? i have a lump and am wondering if this test will tell me anything or if i will need a biopsy as well.

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
Internal Medicine 42 years experience
The : The breast MRI study allows the radiologist to evaluate the tissue components of the breast and evaluate the blood flow to various portions of the breasts following injection with intravenous contrast. If your doctor recommended a breast mri, the radiologist probably saw something suspicious on mammography or ultrasound. The breast MRI may show characteristics which indicate that the lesion is benign and no biopsy would be necessary. Alternatively, the breast MRI may show that a mass is suspicious for malignancy or may show additional masses. In this case, a breast biopsy is often attempted but in some circumstances the breast surgeon may recommend proceeding straight to lobectomy/mastectomy. Ideally, the goal of breast MRI in this situation would be to avoid an unnecessary procedure, evaluate the extent of a mass prior to surgery, or demonstrate additional lesions which would also need to be removed during surgery.
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Dr. Lester Thompson
Pathology 34 years experience
High suspicion: Mri is excellent as a companion to mammography in detecting breast lumps or masses. Mri is usually used if you have dense breast tissue. When combined with blood flow, it can accurately predict the chance of a mass being cancer, but there are limitations. It is best for lobular carcinoma detection. Ultimately, a biopsy will allow a pathologist to make the definitive diagnosis on tissue.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Last updated Oct 3, 2016

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