Pre-operative Localisation Service

What is a wire localisation?

Some breast abnormalities requiring surgery cannot be felt by examination of the breast. Your surgeon will then request that the area be localised (marked) using a fine hook wire.  This guides the surgeon to the area of abnormality.
This procedure is usually done on the day of surgery. It involves a clinic doctor and radiographer or sonographer.

How is the localisation done?

A needle is inserted into the breast either using ultrasound or a mammogram to guide the needle. The needle has a fine wire inside it. When the needle is in place, that is through the area to be excised, the needle is withdrawn leaving the wire behind. The wire has a hook on the tip and this hooks into the tissue and will not move.

The wire protrudes from the breast when the procedure is completed. A mammogram is then performed to demonstrate the position of the wire in the breast. The surgeon uses these films in the operating theatre. The discomfort from this mammogram is no more than for a normal mammogram.

The wire is then laid flat to the breast and secured with a dressing. You are able to wear your normal clothes. Most women do not feel any discomfort from the wire.

Is the procedure painful?

The discomfort is usually equivalent to that felt from a fine needle aspiration biopsy.   Local anaesthetic is used.

Do you use ultrasound or x-ray (mammogram) for the localisation?

If the abnormal area is visible on ultrasound, we would use ultrasound. This procedure takes approximately 20 – 30 minutes.

Some abnormalities are not seen on ultrasound, in particular microcalcification, and these areas are localised using mammography (x-ray) guidance. This takes up to one hour.

What happens afterwards?

When the procedure is complete you can get dressed. In-patients will go either to the Day of Surgery Unit or to their Inpatient Ward.  Staff from the Breast Clinic will escort you there.

If you are a Day Surgery Patient you will go to the Day of Surgery Unit and you may have to wait there for a few hours prior to your surgery depending on the scheduled time of your surgery.

When will I receive my account?

Approximately 1-2 weeks after you are discharged from Hospital, you will receive an account from the Wesley Breast Clinic for the localisation procedure.
Please telephone the clinic to confirm your out of pocket expense.

Should you have any queries regarding your localisation account please do not hesitate to call the accounts staff on 3232 7501.





Additional Information - The Wesley Breast Clinic

  • Breast core biopsy

  • Breast implants

  • Common Breast Problems