When a suspicious area is detected on a mammogram, it can often be too small to feel or detect in an examination. In order for the surgeon to remove the correct area of breast tissue, he or she may need a guide to show the exact location of the lesion.
A needle/wire localization involves the use of mammography or ultrasound to ensure a wire is correctly inserted into the suspicious area.
During a Needle Localization:
- The skin of the breast is anesthetized before the procedure, using sterile technique. The radiologist inserting the needle uses a patient's mammogram to determine how far and at what angle to insert the needle.
- Two images are obtained to check position of the needle. The steps will be repeated if the needle needs to be repositioned.
- Once the needle is identified as being in the correct position, the wire is placed through the needle into the breast tissue and the needle is removed. The very flexible wire will be taped down to the skin until surgery.
- A final mammogram is taken to ensure that the wire properly identifies the area to be removed.
- The surgeon then uses the wire as a guide, and removes the area during the surgical biopsy.