Surgical Breast Biopsy or Lumpectomy with Needle Localization: What to expect.

NL PicSometimes a surgical biopsy is necessary.  A very common procedure is a surgical excision with preoperative needle localization.  In patients with cancer, a lumpectomy is an excellent approach.  With non palpable disease, a similar localizing procedure is performed.

What should you expect on the day of surgery, and, how is the recovery?

Surgery days are very stressful and emotional for patients and their families.  Sometimes, what is discussed at the time of the consult, can be forgotten, so, here is an outline of what happens that day:

  • In order to localize an area that is non palpable (cannot be felt clinically), a wire is placed into the breast, so that the tip of the wire, is at the site of the abnormality (clip/lesion).  This procedure is done, prior to surgery, in the Breast Imaging Department.
  • You will be taken to Breast Imaging by a volunteer, and, brought back to ‘Pre-Op’ by a mammography technician.
  • Timing is everything, as they say.  Well, this holds true for this procedure as well.  Sometimes, there is a significant ‘wait time’ between placement of the wire and the actual surgery.  The wire localizing procedures are only done in the morning, and, with surgical scheduling as it is, this might mean that the actual surgery time is later in the afternoon.  While we appreciate the stress this might cause, this particular aspect of the procedure cannot be changed.
  • Dr. Brown will see you in the pre-op area prior to your surgical procedure, however, many times, the localizing procedure has already been completed.
  • The actual surgery typically takes 1-2 hours, and then, there is an hour or two in the Recovery Room.  The wound is closed with disolvable suture.  An adhesive is placed over the incision.  There is very little wound care required.
  • As always, if you have any questions, please call the office any time.


Post-Op Lumpectomy Instructions