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Needle localization is generally performed when small lumps, calcifications, or other abnormalities are uncovered during a mammogram that cannot be felt by your physician. This follows a previous biopsy. The areas need to be surgically removed. This procedure helps the surgeon pinpoint the abnormal tissue.

Step one begins in radiology - a mammogram or ultrasound is used to find the abnormal tissue.

Once the abnormality is uncovered, a local anesthetic will be used to numb your breast. Then a small needle guide is inserted. It’s about the size of a needle used to draw your blood. A small wire is then left in place. It will stay there until surgery.

The procedure takes about 30 minutes and is relatively painless. Some women experience a little pressure or pulling. The next step is surgery.

You will be taken to surgery the same day. The wire inserted earlier will allow your surgeon locate the area and take as little breast tissue as possible. The abnormal tissue as well as the wire will be removed during surgery.

You will experience some bruising and swelling from the surgery and you may feel bumps near the surgical site from scar tissue. Your surgeon will discuss any changes with you.