SERVICES : Mammography
About Breast Localization
About Mammogram



ABOUT Breast Localization

A breast localization may also be referred to as a needle marking or needle localization. It is performed prior to a surgical biopsy of your breast. This localization procedure will identify the area to be biopsied by your surgeon.

Upon your arrival at the Hospital, please report to the SurgiCenter, located on the top floor of D-Building. After registration, you will be escorted to a preparation area, and then transported to The Women's Center where your breast localization procedure will be performed. A note to inpatients: If you¹re having this procedure done while you are hospitalized, your nurse will guide you through all preparations, and will arrange for your transportation to and from The Women's Center.

Your physician will tell you what steps you should follow before the localization procedure. Please pay special attention to any instructions regarding medications. If dietary restrictions are required, take nothing by mouth for the time specified. This means no food, water or juices, chewing gum, medication, etc., until the procedure is over.

You will be transported to The Women's Center (Suite 125 Doctors Office Building), where the breast localization will be performed. When in the mammography room, the Radiologist may first request that an x-ray be taken. The Radiologist will then insert a needle into the area of your breast to be biopsied. You may experience minor discomfort as the needle is inserted. However, the discomfort should be short in duration. A mammogram will then be performed to assure that the needle is directed to the area of concern. Sometimes, the needle must be repositioned. In such cases, additional x-rays may be required. Once the needle is in the correct position, a blue dye will be injected. This dye highlights the area of concern for the surgeon. Your surgeon may have requested that a thin wire be inserted to help locate the problem area during surgery. This will be inserted through the needle already in place. After the dye is injected, the needle will be removed from your breast. If used, the wire will remain in place until the time of surgery. A dressing will be placed over the area, and will be removed in the operating room. If you are uncomfortable at any time, or have a question, please tell the technologist or Radiologist. Your health and comfort are our first concerns.

Upon completion of your breast localization, you will be transported back to the SurgiCenter. There, the nurses will prepare you for your surgery.

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A mammogram is a special x-ray of the soft tissue in your breast. This study is used to detect early signs of breast disease. It also helps your doctor to evaluate any symptoms you may be having. If this is your first mammogram, it will be used as a baseline. This means that all future mammograms will be compared to this one. The amount of radiation used to do a mammogram is very small and should not cause any problems. However, if you are pregnant or think you might be, tell your doctor and the technologist performing the study. Also, we want you to know that each of our mammography units is accredited by both the American College of Radiology and the Food & Drug Administration¹s MQSA Program. This means that we meet specific government standards that are set for this speciality.


  • If you had a mammogram done somewhere other than at a Reading Hospital location, please bring the films with you on the day of your study. This will help our Radiologist (a doctor who is an expert in reading x-rays) interpret your study and report findings more quickly.
  • We suggest scheduling your appointment as closely after your menstrual period as possible. This helps to decrease possible discomfort due to breast tenderness.
  • At least five days before you mammogram, avoid drinking coffee, tea, and other beverages that contain caffeine. This step will also help to decrease discomfort during the study.
  • Take a shower or bath before the mammogram. Do not put deodorant, cream, lotion, or perfume on your breasts or under your arms. These products can leave traces on the x-ray, which makes it difficult to read.
  • Wear a two-piece outfit like a shirt with pants or a skirt. Do not wear any jewelry around your neck.
  • Please plan for about 30 minutes to complete this study.
  • When you come for your study, please bring:
    - this brochure
    - your health benefits ID card
    any required pre-approval or referral forms
  • Tell the person doing the mammogram if you have breast implants.

When you arrive for your study, you will be taken to a dressing booth where you will undress from the waist up and change into the exam gown provided. When you are ready, the technologist will ask you a few questions about your health. Next, she will position you for the first x-ray as you stand facing the mammogram equipment.

Once the procedure begins, the technologist will use a smooth, plastic shield as a compression device to position your breast to get an accurate x-ray. This compression may cause some discomfort, but the discomfort will last only a brief time. There will be no adverse effects on your breast tissue -- this action really decreases the amount of radiation that comes in contact with your body.

  • During the x-ray process, you may be asked to hold your other breast away from the one being examined. You should remain as still as possible through this part of the study.
  • Usually, two x-rays of each breast will be taken.
  • If you are having a screening mammogram and the radiologist feels more pictures would be helpful, a follow-up diagnostic mammogram will be recommended.
  • If you are having a diagnostic mammogram due to a current or previous complaint, more views may sometimes be taken.
  • Feel free to ask questions at any point during your examination.

A Radiologist will study your mammogram, and make a report to your doctor. If you do not get your mammogram results within two weeks, please call your doctor.

Breast Self-Examination, or BSE, is an important part of good health practices that every woman should practice each month. If you have your mammogram done at The Women¹s Center, please ask to view the videotapes about how to do BSE correctly.

For women with no symptoms of breast disease, the American Cancer Society recommends that:

  • you have your first mammogram by age 40;
  • you have an annual mammogram from age 40 on.

Medicare covers screening mammograms for women without symptoms of breast disease based on these guidelines:

  • Your first or baseline mammogram between age 35 and 39
  • Once a year (11 full months must have passed following the month of your previous screening mammogram) for ages 40 and older

Please check your healthcare plan for information on its recommendations and coverage.


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