Wire Localization Excisional Biopsy

When results from a needle biopsy [link to needle biopsy page] are unclear, a surgical biopsy may be necessary. This will remove the entire area or tumor for a pathologist to better examine and make an accurate diagnosis.

For abnormal areas that are not able to be felt or easily located, imaging (mammogram, ultrasound, or MRI) is used to identify the area. Using that imaging, earlier in the day of the procedure, a wire is passed from the portion of the breast to be removed to the skin surface. During the surgery this wire directs the surgeon to the correct portion of breast tissue that needs to be removed. The surgeon then makes a small incision and removes the tumor or abnormal area, along with the wire. The remainder of the breast tissue is preserved. Most commonly, this is an outpatient (day surgery) surgical procedure.