Needle Localization Biopsy

What is a wire/needle localization biopsy?

A breast imaging examination has shown an abnormal area that your healthcare provider wants evaluated through a biopsy. Because this area can be seen by mammography or ultrasound, the area will be marked with a wire by the radiologist to assist your surgeon in removing the tissue. This procedure is called a wire/needle localization.

The procedure involves two steps. The first step is a wire/needle localization. And the second step is the surgical biopsy.

Step 1: Wire/Needle Localization

  • A radiologist performs the wire localization in the mammography or ultrasound suite. This takes approximately 30 minutes.
  • Mammography or ultrasound guidance will be used to assist the radiologist in localizing the area.
  • The radiologist will cleanse the skin around the insertion point with alcohol and numb the area.
  • A small needle will be guided into the breast until the needle tip touches the area of abnormality. Because the breast tissue has few nerves, the needle may cause only minor discomfort.
  • The radiologist will guide a small wire through the needle. The needle is then removed and the wire will be taped to your skin.
  • A final mammogram will be taken to verify accurate wire placement. You will then go to the hospital’s surgical waiting area.

Step 2: Surgical Biopsy

The biopsy will take place two to three hours after the wire/needle localization. Nurses and anesthesia staff will help you prepare for surgery and answer any questions you may have. You will get medicine to help you relax and the biopsy site will be numbed.

After the biopsy, you will rest in a recovery suite. Nurses will check the biopsy area and keep you comfortable. At home, you may want to put an ice pack over the biopsy area for several hours. You may also want to wear a supportive bra for several days or nights to help with any discomfort.

Are there any restrictions before the exam?

Do not take aspirin three days before the biopsy. If you are on blood thinners, please discuss this with your healthcare provider.

When will I know the results?

Your healthcare provider should receive the results from the lab in three to five working days. You may schedule an appointment after your procedure to discuss results with your health care Physician.

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Anish Nihalani, MD, FACS
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