OakLeaf Medical Network Healthy Viewpoints, Winter 2003
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Radiologist pin points breast tissue in question
with a fine needle

Portable mammography machine can be brought right
into the operating room for
the comfort of the patient


Needle localization procedure assists
with early diagnosis of cancer

OakLeaf Surgical Hospital, Eau Claire

A mammogram becomes anything but routine if it shows an abnormality requiring biopsy. The surgeon called on to perform the biopsy is often confronted by a situation where he must locate and biopsy a very small irregularity that is visible on the mammogram, but cannot be felt on physical exam. One method of removing the abnormality is called a “localization biopsy”. This procedure allows surgeons to locate and remove tiny abnormalities seen on a mammogram.

To perform a localization biopsy, the radiologist begins by taking a mammogram of the breast in question. Then, after injecting a local anesthetic the radiologist inserts a thin needle into the breast to the exact point of the abnormality. A wire is then threaded through the needle, and the needle is removed. This wire will guide the surgeon to the abnormality.

At this point intravenous sedation is administered, as well as additional local anesthetic. The surgeon then proceeds with the biopsy by making an incision and removing the area indicated by the wire. Because OakLeaf Surgical Hospital has a portable mammography machine, the needle localization procedure is performed all in one room, rather than requiring that the patient move from the radiology department to the surgical area. This makes the procedure proceed more quickly, is more comfortable for the patient, and facilitates communication between the surgeon and the radiologist.

Once the tissue is removed a mammogram is often performed on the biopsy specimen itself, to insure that the abnormality has been accurately located and removed. The specimen is then given to a pathologist for microscopic analysis. Depending on the type of abnormality we may have a diagnosis the same day as the biopsy, or within one to two days.

OakLeaf Surgical Hospital is a privately operated hospital specifically designed for the needs of patients having surgery. More than 45 physicians in 17 specialties perform surgery at the surgical hospital and are committed to providing the highest quality medical services to those in their care.

For more information contact
» Deb Kunferman Interim Administrator , Oak Leaf Surgical Hospital
3802 West Oakwood Mall Dr. Eau Claire 715.831.8130 or 800.635.6197