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Needle Localization

This page includes general information about what you can expect before, during and after your exam. For more specific information about your appointment and results, please contact the local center where your appointment is scheduled.

What is breast needle localization?

The goal of a breast needle localization (also called wire localization) is to mark an area in your breast to guide your surgeon during a surgical procedure.

This procedure is performed using image-guidance, such as ultrasound, mammography (or stereotactic) or MRI for guiding the needle and wire into the area of interest. Images will be taken of your breast to determine the location of the abnormality. The needle is positioned and other images will be obtained. Once the abnormal area in question has been located, a small wire is placed through the needle and the needle is removed leaving the wire in place. Additional mammogram images may be taken. The wire will be taped to your skin until your surgery.

Learn more about your Needle Localization experience: 

  • A representative from our staff will call you prior to your appointment to provide you specific instructions, and review health and insurance information.
  • Please bring previous studies to the appointment, including ultrasound, mammography, MRI, etc.
  • Please notify a member of our staff if you are nursing or if there is a chance you may be pregnant.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes early to verify your registration.
  • The technologist will position you for easiest access to the area.
  • The skin will be swabbed with a cleaning solution.
  • A local anesthetic is used to numb area where the needle will be inserted.
  • A radiologist will utilize the appropriate image-guided technology to place a needle into the breast tissue.
  • Once the needle is in position, a thin flexible wire is placed through the needle.
  • The needle is then removed, leaving the wire in place to be used as a guide for the surgeon during a breast surgery and will be removed by your surgeon.

Ask a member of our staff for more specific information on next steps, and your appointment with your surgeon. However, in general you can expect:

  • Once the wire is in place, a small bandage will be placed over the area.
  • Our staff will guide you to where you go next after the needle localization.
  • Talk to your surgeon regarding when you will be able to resume normal activity.