Needle Localization of the Breast

A needle localization of the breast is a procedure either performed in ultrasound or mammography that marks breast abnormalities that cannot be felt, but are visible on a mammogram or ultrasound, prior to surgical biopsy.

A radiologist performs the localization with the assistance of the mammography or ultrasound technologist. This will assist your surgeon in removing the breast tissue that contains the abnormality.

Before Your Procedure

  • Do not wear deodorants, powders or perfumes on your upper body.
  • The rest of the preparation consists of the pre-surgery instructions given to you by your physician.

During Your Procedure

  • A technologist will first take preliminary films of the area while you are either lying on a table or in an upright position.
  • The radiologist will then anesthetize (numb up) your tissues and insert a localizing needle.
  • Images are taken to show the needle’s position in relationship to the abnormality. The needle may need to be repositioned.
  • Once the needle is near the abnormality, a blue dye may be injected through it to stain the tissues.
  • A thin wire is then inserted through the needle and the needle is withdrawn, leaving the wire in your breast.
  • The wire is taped to your skin. You may feel the wire in your breast, but generally it is not painful.
  • After the needle localization has been completed, you will be sent to surgery.
  • The surgeon will use the wire, as a guide, to find the abnormal area in your breast.

After Your Procedure

  • A mammogram is done on the surgically removed tissue to make sure the abnormality has been removed.
  • A pathologist then studies the tissue to determine if cancer cells are present.
  • The pathology analysis usually takes at least 2 days.
  • Your surgeon will inform you of the pathology results.

Providing safe, quality patient care is our highest priority. To help ensure quality and safety, we ask that you do not bring young children with you to your appointments, as children are not allowed to accompany you during Imaging procedures. Staff is unable to monitor your child in your absence.

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

Back to Imaging Patient Instructions

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO