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Diagnostic Imaging

Diagnostic Imaging

Central Scheduling Phone: 603-663-2180


Pre-Operative Needle Localization

This procedure is utilized prior to an excision biopsy of the breast. The Breast Diagnostic Center at the Elliot Hospital is pleased to offer the pre-operative needle localization procedure. This procedure is performed in the mammography department or sometimes in the ultrasound department. A tiny flexible guide wire is placed in the breast through a special needle. This will help your surgeon to locate the area in question. The surgeon performing the excision biopsy schedules these procedures.

Why do I need the Pre-Operative Needle Localization?
When an abnormality is seen on your mammogram, but cannot be felt by your physician, a pre-operative needle localization can be used to localize the questionable area. Or you may have had a recent stereotactic breast biopsy and the results have indicated that more tissue needs to be removed.

How do I prepare for the procedure?
You will be given instructions not to eat or drink after a specific time (depending on your scheduled operation time). Dress comfortably, preferably a two-piece outfit. For the pre-operative needle localization you will be asked to change from the waist up and put on a hospital gown. Please do not apply any deodorants, powder, perfume or ointment in your underarm area or anywhere on the breast in question. Residue from these products could create misleading exam results.

It is very important that your mammogram films are at the hospital either prior to the biopsy or the day of the procedure.

How is the pre-operative needle localization performed?
The procedure is done in the mammography department. The mammogram machine is utilized. There will be two mammography technologists with you, along with the radiologist performing the procedure. You will be sitting on a special chair and then positioned similar to a mammogram. The location of the questionable area will determine the approach the radiologist will take. Your breast will be held in place by a compression paddle that has a special cutout. This is very important and will not only hold your breast still for the procedure, but it will allow the radiologist to position the needle more accurately. The radiologist will numb the site with a local anesthetic. He will then advance a special needle in place. Two mammogram images will be taken to determine the placement. Once reviewed the guide wire is then advanced through the placed needle. The needle is then removed and the wire left in its place. Two final mammography films are taken and reviewed. The wire is then taped to your skin and covered with a gauze bandage.

Is the procedure painful?
You will feel pressure from the compression paddle. You may experience a burning sensation with the local anesthetic. You may also feel some pressure as the needle is being positioned. The compression is released as soon as possible.

How long will the procedure take?
We usually allow one hour of time for this procedure. Many are completed in less time; however, some areas may be more difficult to assess.

What happens after the pre-operative needle localization?
After the procedure is completed, you will be escorted to the Surgical Day Care. This is the holding area prior to your surgery.

What about the results from my biopsy?
Your surgeon will be receiving the results. You should discuss this with them.

Contact Information?

If you have any questions regarding this procedure please call:
Elliot Hospital
Breast Diagnostic Center
One Elliot Way
Manchester, NH 03103-3599
(603) 663-4490