Pre-operative localization is a procedure that doctors use to further evaluate suspicious tissue growth when they detect nonpalpable breast abnormalities on a mammogram but are unable to feel them through a physical examination. Your surgeon may order one prior to your breast excision biopsy.

A pre-operative localization procedure can aid in early breast cancer detection or even help surgeons find concealed tumors in the breast tissue.

What to expect during the procedure

A pre-operative localization procedure is performed by a trained radiologist and can take up to an hour to complete. Patients are required to change into a hospital gown for this procedure. The breast is held in place by a compression paddle so the radiologist can precisely mark the suspicious area. The radiologist will then apply local anesthesia to numb the area. After the anesthesia has taken effect, a guiding needle will be inserted in the breast with the help of a wire. The radiologist will take two mammogram images to ensure the correct needle placement.

After pre-operative localization, the wire is taped to the breast and stays in long enough to guide the operating surgeon. This helps the surgeon operate and remove the abnormal tissue during the breast biopsy.

After the procedure has been completed, the radiologist will review the mammogram images and forward them to the surgery center.

Patients can expect to feel a slight stinging sensation from the local anesthetic, and may feel some pressure when the needle or wire is inserted into the breast tissue.

While the patient is still in the operating room, the removed breast tissue will be brought back to the breast center. The radiologist can take an X-ray to confirm that the abnormality has been removed from the breast.

How to prepare for pre-operative localization

On the day of your pre-operative localization procedure, you will be asked to:

  • Eat a light meal a few hours before the procedure
  • Wear comfortable, two-piece clothing that can be removed from the waist up
  • Not put any deodorant, perfume, or talcum powder on your armpits or around your breasts, as it can create misleading results

TOPS Surgical Specialty Hospital’s Comprehenisve Breast Center is a full-service outpatient surgical facility. We are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and employ a highly qualified staff who assist patients through their medical procedures. The hospital specializes in providing physicians with state-of-the-art facilities and caring staff who allow them to provide top-rated patient care.

Get in touch with our healthcare staff to learn more about our outpatient surgical facility and procedures and to find a specialist who is right for you.