A needle localization breast biopsy is recommended when breast abnormalities are found on a mammogram but cannot be felt. During this procedure, a surgeon removes all of the abnormal breast tissue, which is then studied to determine whether or not it is cancerous. A needle localization breast biopsy typically takes about 60 to 90 minutes and is performed on an outpatient basis.
The Needle Localization Breast Biopsy Procedure
A needle localization breast biopsy is usually performed under a combination of local anesthesia and sedation. During the first part of the procedure, a needle is directed into the affected portion of the patient's breast with the assistance of ultrasound imaging or mammography. Once the abnormality has been found, a flexible wire is threaded through the needle and the needle is removed. The wire is taped in place and then covered by a dressing.
When the second part of the procedure begins, the patient will receive intravenous sedation through her arm and a local anesthetic will be applied to the breast. The surgeon then uses the wire to locate the abnormality. Once the anesthesia has taken effect, an incision will be made in the breast, and the abnormal tissue is then removed, along with the wire. At the end of the needle localization breast biopsy, a bandage is applied to the site of the incision and the removed tissue is sent to a pathology lab for further testing.
After the needle localization breast biopsy, the patient is taken to a recovery area where her vitals will be monitored. Patients usually return home the same day, although strenuous activities should be avoided for at least 24 hours. The results of a needle localization breast biopsy are usually available about a week later; the doctor will then discuss them with the patient.
Risks of Needle Localization Breast Biopsy
Although needle localization breast biopsy is generally a safe procedure, any procedure carries a slight risk of complications. These risks may include infection at the site of the biopsy, excessive bleeding and adverse reactions to the anesthesia. A patient who experiences any of these side effects should contact her doctor immediately.