Needle Localization

Overview

Wire/needle localization is a minimally invasive surgical technique used to locate and remove breast cancer tumors. The procedure involves placing a thin wire or needle into the breast tumor site and then using imaging guidance (mammography, ultrasound, or MRI) to remove the tumor.

This technique can be performed as an outpatient procedure and does not require general anesthesia. Wire/needle localization is absolutely safe and effective in locating and removing small breast tumors. It is also less expensive and has a shorter recovery time than traditional surgery.

If you have been diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer, your doctor may recommend wire/needle localization as an alternative to traditional surgery. After a thorough discussion with your doctor, you can decide to undergo this procedure.

Wire/needle localization is typically performed as an outpatient procedure. The procedure begins with the placement of a local anesthetic to numb the breast area. A thin wire or needle is then inserted into the breast tumor site using imaging guidance (mammography, ultrasound, or MRI).

Once the wire or needle is in place, it guides the surgeon to the tumor site. The tumor is then removed using a surgical instrument (such as a scalpel). It takes about 1-2 hours to complete the entire procedure.

Recovery from wire/needle localization is typically shorter and less painful than traditional surgery. Most patients return home the same day of their procedure.

How do you wire localize breasts?

The wire localization procedure is used to help find a cancerous lump in the breast. It is usually done before a biopsy or as part of the biopsy procedure.

Wire localization is done using mammography, a type of x-ray exam of the breast. The radiologist (a doctor specializing in interpreting medical images) will take X-rays of the breast from different angles. 

These pictures are then examined on a computer screen. The radiologist will look for an abnormality, such as a mass, that might be cancer.  Once an abnormality is found, the radiologist will place a thin metal wire into the breast through a needle. 

The wire is then threaded through the abnormality to be seen on the X-rays. The wire acts as a marker, or guide, to help the surgeon remove the suitable tissue during the biopsy procedure.

In some cases, localization may be done using ultrasound instead of mammography. Ultrasound uses sound waves to create pictures of the breast. The radiologist will place the wire using the ultrasound scan. 

The wire localization procedure is done on an outpatient basis, so you will not have to stay overnight in the hospital. The procedure takes approximately 1 hour. 

You may be asked to remove all clothing and jewelry from your waist up, and you will be given a gown to wear. You will be asked to lie on your back on an x-ray table to position your chest area on the x-ray machine. As an initial step, the target area of your skin is cleaned and made numb with a local anesthetic. 

A small incision (cut) will be made in your skin. A needle will be inserted through the incision and into the breast. The wire will then be passed through the needle and placed into the breast. The wire is then positioned so that it goes through the abnormality. 

The radiologist will take more X-rays to confirm the correct placement of the wire. Once this is ensured, the needle is removed, and a clip is placed on the end of the wire. The incision in your skin is closed with a stitch or surgical tape. 

You will be given specific instructions on how to care for the incision. The doctors will hand you a card with the wire localization procedure information. You will need it when you go for your biopsy.

What should I expect before, during, and after wire localization?

Before the procedure:

  • The doctors will do a mammogram or ultrasound to help locate the abnormal tissue.
  • They will administer a local anesthetic to numb the area.
  • You may be asked to sign a consent form that gives your permission for the procedure.

During the procedure:

  • A thin wire is inserted into the breast through a small needle.
  • The wire is positioned inside the abnormal tissue.
  • With the help of an x-ray or fluoroscope, the position of the wire is checked.
  • Once the wire is in the right place, it is secured with a small clip.
  • The needle will then be removed.
  • Later the surgeon may make a small incision (cut) over the wire and insert a tiny probe. This probe emits radio waves that help guide the surgeon to the abnormal tissue.
  • The surgeon will then remove the abnormal tissue.
  • Lastly, the wire and clip are left in place, and the incision is closed with stitches or surgical glue.

After the procedure:

  • After completing the procedure, you are transferred to a recovery area to monitor for any complications.
  • You may have some bruising, swelling, and discomfort at the biopsy site that should go away within a few days.
  • You are expected to go home the same day as the procedure.
  • Your doctor will remove the wire and clip along during a follow-up appointment 7 to 10 days after the biopsy.
  • If required, the surgeon will remove any remaining abnormal tissue.
  • The wire and clip will be left in place, and the incision will be closed with stitches or surgical glue.

What are the benefits of wire localization?

The main benefit of wire localization is that it helps guide the surgeon to operate on the right area during a breast biopsy. This helps to ensure that only the affected tissue is removed.

Doctors may also use wire localization instead of a biopsy in some cases. If a suspicious area can be seen on mammography or ultrasound but is not large enough to feel, the radiologist may place a wire in it. 

The surgeon can then remove the tissue using surgery. Another benefit of wire localization is that it requires smaller incisions (cuts) during surgery, ensuring lesser scarring and faster recovery.

What are the risks of wire localization?

All invasive procedures are associated with some risks. The risks of wire localization include bleeding, infection, pain, bruising, swelling and scarring.

Wire localization is considered a low-risk procedure, and complications are rare. Mammography and ultrasound are safe forms of imaging but occasionally may cause minor skin irritation. Administration of local anesthesia during this procedure is generally safe. However, there is a small risk of bleeding, infection, or nerve injury.

What are the alternatives to wire localization?

    • The commonly used alternative to wire localization is biopsy without localization. The surgeon would use mammography or ultrasound to guide the needle into the breast. This is called a stereotactic needle biopsy. 
    • Another alternative is MRI-guided needle biopsy. In this procedure, an MRI machine guides the needle into the breast. 
    • Another option is an open biopsy that is done without any imaging guidance. Here, the surgeon makes a larger incision to extract the abnormal tissue. However, this is only done if the abnormal tissue can be easily seen or felt.

    Wire localization is the most common form of localization and is considered the best method for guiding the surgeon to the right area during a biopsy. 

    If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, your doctor will discuss all your treatment options with you, including discussing the risks and benefits of each option. Based on that, you can choose the best treatment option.

    Which option is right for me?

    Your doctor will discuss all of your options with you and help you decide which procedure is right for you. Some factors considered for this include:

    • Shape, size and location of the abnormality.
    • Your overall health.
    • Your preferences.

    You can book an appointment with our experts to know more about Wire/Needle Localization.

    Breast Cancer
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    PROFILE

    About Dr. Jay Rashmi Anam

    Dr Jay Anam is one of the best surgical oncologists in India. With an expertise as a breast cancer surgeon, he believes in world class cancer care for all the patients.

    Dr. Jay Anam focuses on Breast Oncology, and his scope of work includes:

    Expertise
    • Breast Cancer surgeries, including Mastectomy, Breast Conservation Surgery, Aesthetic and Cosmetic Breast reconstruction–Oncoplasty to retain breast shape and size during the treatment of breast cancer.
    • Sentinel Node Biopsy to limit the extent of the node dissection in early breast cancers.
    • Sono-Guided and Wire- localized Breast Surgeries for screen-detected Breast Cancers.
    • Flap reconstructions for advanced Breast Cancers.
    • Aesthetic Breast Surgery for benign breast tumours.

    Patient Treated By Dr. Jay Anam

    People heavily rely on reviews from other patients when choosing a healthcare provider

    Dr. Jay Anam is a warm, kind, sympathetic, and brilliant doctor who handles his patients with dignity and respect, in my opinion. He has an incredible talent for motivating his patients and inspiring them to give more than 100% confidence. "Ruma, enjoy this voyage and you will be OK!" he said, and I still remember his words. These words have struck a chord in my heart throughout my wellness voyage, and I am a warrior. Dr. Jay Anam comes across as a terrific friend, and he makes you feel at ease throughout the procedure as if you've known him for years. He is forthcoming and available 24/7 for any queries.

    Ruma Chatterjee

    Our Patients

    I got operated in Nov 2021. The word cancer can be so daunting and brings loads of stress in a patient's life. But i was fortunate that I met the right surgeon - Dr Jay Anam, post meeting him was relaxed and knew I am in safe hands. He explained the surgery in minute detail and patiently answered all my queries. Post surgery outcome was also discussed and nothing was left to guessing. He was on time for the surgery and i have to admit that the cuts and scars are minimal and it was a very clean n neatly done job. Post surgery he was always available on phone for any issue I faced. Post surgery follow up visit was also handled professionally.

    Priya Shah

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