The breast is a complex structure of glands, ducts, fibrous tissue and fat. For this reason, any abnormal tissue needing removal may be difficult to find during surgery even when it shows up clearly on your mammogram or ultrasound.
That's why the breast needle localization procedure was developed.
In order for surgeons to remove the area of breast tissue that contains the suspicious area, they need a guide to show the exact location of the abnormality. Needle localization is most often performed immediately prior to surgery on patients who are having surgical breast biopsies or lumpectomies.
This procedure will result in precise pinpointing of the abnormality, thereby increasing your surgeon's ability to remove all of the abnormal tissue while reducing the removal of normal tissue. It also reduces the length of time you are in surgery.
The procedure may be performed either under ultrasound guidance or mammographic guidance, depending on which type of imaging best shows the abnormality. For both cases, once the abnormality has been identified, a needle will be inserted into your breast to mark the exact position of the abnormality.
Once properly located, the needle will be removed, leaving a thin wire as a guide for your surgeon.
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