Wire localisation biopsy

Investigations have shown an abnormality in your breast that requires biopsy.

As it cannot be felt the surgeon will need to rely on a small guide wire to locate it accurately.

The wire will be inserted under x-ray or ultrasound guidance just before your surgery. Local anaesthetic will be used to numb the area and once in position the thin wire will be taped to your skin to stop it shifting. There may be a delay of 2 -3 hours before going through to theatre.

The operation is performed as a day case procedure and takes about 45 -60 minutes.

You will require a short general anaesthetic or a combination of local anaesthetic and sedation. Further anaesthetic details are presented on a seperate sheet.

A 2 to 5 cm long cut is made in the skin. Wherever possible it is placed in a position around the nipple or in the fold under the breast to produce a good cosmetic result.

The amount of tissue removed is usually small and seldom causes any change in the shape or size of the breast.

The specimen may be sent back to x-ray and a further film  taken to check that the abnormal area has been located and removed. It is then sent on to the laboratory for analysis.

The cut is closed with a dissolving stitch and a plastic dressing is placed over the wound.

There will be a firm white pressure dressing over the breast, which can be removed after 24 hours. Beneath it is the clear plastic adhesive dressing. This is waterproof and you may bath or shower as normal. Leave it on until your follow up visit.

Recovery is quick, and you should be ready to leave hospital 2 - 3 hours later. You will need someone to drive you home. If you live out of town however, it is wise to consider staying in Auckland overnight.

Expect to be up and about by the next day and you should be back to all usual activities (running, aerobics etc) within two weeks. Try to avoid unnecessary jolting or bumping, as the breast may be tender for a while.

You may notice some bruising and this will settle over a couple of weeks .Taking arnica may help to speed this up.

Scar tissue sometimes causes lumpiness at the biopsy site and can take a few months to settle down.

There is only a 1-2% chance of a complication following this procedure.

Bleeding causes swelling and pain within a few hours of surgery, and if severe may require going back into theatre.

Wound infection occasionally develops five to ten days after surgery causing redness, tenderness and perhaps a fever, and will require a course of antibiotics.

Very occasionally (In 1% of cases) the procedure fails for technical reasons and the abnormality cannot be located. In this situation you will need further x-rays a few weeks later to review the situation and the procedure may need to be repeated.

You will be seen for a follow-up consultation about one week later to check on the wound and discuss your results. Please ensure that you have this appointment. If you have any concerns, please phone the clinic, or contact your surgeon.

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