Needle Localization of the Breast

What is Needle Localization?

Needle localization of the breast is a procedure performed with ultrasound or mammography to mark abnormal breast tissue before surgery. A dye and/or thin wire is inserted into the abnormal tissue to guide your surgeon to the exact location of abnormal tissue. The thin wire will be removed during your surgery.

Before the Procedure

Providing safe, quality patient care is our highest priority. For the best experience please properly prepare for your appointment:

  • Follow the pre-surgery instructions provided by your surgeon’s office.
  • Please do not wear deodorant, powders, or perfumes on your upper body.

During the Procedure

A team of imaging technologists and a doctor will explain and perform the procedure.

  • You will lie on an exam table or be placed in an upright position.
  • The area in your breast will be located using ultrasound or X-ray.
  • The radiologist injects a numbing medication into the skin and will then guide a small needle into the breast tissue using ultrasound or X-ray as their guide.
  • Once the needle is in the abnormal breast tissue, a blue dye may be injected to stain the tissue.
  • A thin wire is inserted through the needle until properly positioned. The needle is then withdrawn, leaving the wire in your breast.
  • The wire may be taped to your skin for safety and comfort. You may feel the wire in your breast, but generally it is not painful.
  • Please ask any questions before and during the procedure.

After the Procedure

  • You will return to the surgery department after the procedure. Your surgeon will use the wire and dye, as a guide, to remove the abnormal tissue in your breast.
  • A mammogram is done on the surgically removed tissue to ensure the abnormality has been removed.
  • A pathologist may then examine the tissue to determine if cancer cells are present. These results take three to five business days. Your surgeon’s office will inform you of these results.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your provider.

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