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information on the care of needle localisation wires

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Why do I need a wire localisation?


We need to help the surgeon to find the area in your breast which needs to be removed quickly and easily on the day of your surgery. Within a day or so of your operation, we will insert a thin bendable wire to locate the area within your breast.


What is the procedure like?


This procedure is called a ‘needle localisation’ as the radiologists place a needle into your breast using mammograms or ultrasound to guide them.

You will have a local anaesthetic to numb the area before the needle is inserted.

When the needle is in the correct position the outside is removed, leaving just the wire inside your breast so that the surgeon can find the abnormality at the tip of the wire.


Will the wire move in my breast?


There is a tiny hook at the tip of the wire which is too small for you to feel but will keep it in place. The wire is well secured within the breast by this hook and should not move or fall out overnight even if the wire is accidentally pulled.

The piece of soft wire that comes out of your breast will be coiled over and completely covered with a padded dressing to prevent it from catching on your clothes.


How will I travel to hospital for my operation?


You should arrange for a friend or relative to drive you to and from your appointments. The wire localisation treatment will take place at the Park Centre for Breast Care. On the day of the operation, you will be treated at the Princess Royal Hospital.

If you have no means of transport then please let us know and a hospital car can be arranged for you.

Please call us as soon as you can to book transport since it must be arranged at least three days before your localisation appointment.


Will the wire affect my activities or me?


The wire is well covered so you can safely place a seat belt across the breast. However you may prefer to sit on the side of the car where the seat belt is placed across your other breast.

If the wire is put in the day before your surgery, it is normal and safe practice for most people to go home overnight and come to the hospital the next day. When you go to bed, you should wear a top or nightclothes together with a bra if this is more comfortable for you.

You will not cause any harm if you turn on to the side of the wire in your sleep as it is very secure and will not fall out. You may find it uncomfortable to lie on the dressing. If so, you should try to sleep on your back, sides or on the other breast.

Keep the dressing completely dry; it should not fall off but if it does then just cover the area where the wire enters the skin with a dry dressing.


Will the wire affect my activities or me?


The wire is well covered so you can safely place a seat belt across the breast. However you may prefer to sit on the side of the car where the seat belt is placed across your other breast.

If the wire is put in the day before your surgery, it is normal and safe practice for most people to go home overnight and come to the hospital the next day. When you go to bed, you should wear a top or nightclothes together with a bra if this is more comfortable for you.

You will not cause any harm if you turn on to the side of the wire in your sleep as it is very secure and will not fall out. You may find it uncomfortable to lie on the dressing. If so, you should try to sleep on your back, sides or on the other breast.

Keep the dressing completely dry; it should not fall off but if it does then just cover the area where the wire enters the skin with a dry dressing.


Can I eat and drink normally?


If the wire is inserted the day before your operation, you can eat and drink normally.

On the day of your operation it is important that you keep to the starving instructions outlined in your admission letter or your operation may have to be postponed.


What happens after the surgery?


After your surgery, the specimen is sent to the laboratory for analysis and the results will be discussed with you when you come to the clinic approximately two weeks later.


What should I do if I have concerns or questions?


For further advice or information, you can contact the following:

Hurstwood Park Surgical Ward, Princess Royal Hospital:
01444 441881 extension 5731

Breast Care Nurses Helpline, Park Centre for Breast Care:
01273 696955 extension 4111. You should leave a message on the answer phone and one of the Breast Care nurses will return your call.


Arranging Transport


To arrange a hospital car to take you to the Princess Royal Hospital for your operation, please call at least three days before your localisation appointment: Park Centre Admissions, 01273 696955 extension 3744 or 3764.

This information is intended for patients receiving care in Brighton & Hove or Haywards Heath.

The information here is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.

Review Date: October 2022

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