An excisional biopsy removes the entire mass or abnormal area, as well as a surrounding margin of normal-looking breast tissue., This type of procedure is usually done under a local anesthesia (where you are awake, but your breast is numb). You may also be given medicine to make you drowsy.
During an excisional breast biopsy, the surgeon may use a procedure called wire localization if there is a small lump that is hard to find by touch, or if an area looks suspicious on the x-ray but cannot be felt. After the area is numbed with local anesthetic, a thin, hollow needle is put into the breast and x-ray views are used to guide the needle to the suspicious area. A very thin wire is put in through the center of the needle. A small hook at the end of the wire keeps it in place. The hollow needle is then removed, and the wire is left to guide the surgeon to the abnormal area.