Wire localization is a procedure used to guide the surgeon to the
location of a breast mass too small or vague to feel accurately with
the hand but needs to be removed and tested. The procedure is
completed the morning of breast biopsy surgery.
For this procedure, local anesthetic is applied to minimize pain. A
small needle is inserted to locate the mass to be biopsied, guided by
X-ray, ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology. Once
the area of concern is pinpointed, a small amount of blue dye is
injected to temporarily mark the spot, and a wire is anchored into the
tissue. The blue dye and wire will be used as a road map by the
surgeon to locate and remove the mass. Lastly, additional images of
the breast are captured to document for the surgeon the relationship
of the wire to the mass to be biopsied. Each procedure takes between
30 and 45 minutes. After the procedure is completed, patients are
transported to the surgical waiting area.
Some breast abnormalities are hard to detect with other simpler
imaging technologies. Stanford is one of the few sites that offers
MRI-guided wire localization. When an MRI is used to locate a
difficult to detect mass in the breast, our experts again use the MRI
in our wire localization preparation for biopsy surgery. When
requested by the surgeon, Stanford also performs bracket wire
localizations to mark out larger irregularly shaped abnormalities.