Why is a clip (or marker) placed into the breast after a core biopsy procedure?

Whenever image-guided breast procedures are done, every attempt is made to target the area of the abnormality as precisely as possible. The clip shows exactly where the sample was taken, and when mammograms are later done, can prove that the correct spot was biopsied. The clip will show up on future mammograms and show that a particular area has been biopsied. If any more procedures are needed to reach a final diagnosis, the clip can guide the surgeon to exactly the right spot in the breast.

What is the clip made of?

Most clips are made of stainless steel or titanium, both harmless metals in use for artificial joints and for many other surgical uses. Most surgeons will use similar clips to stop bleeding from small blood vessels during surgical procedures. Some clips used after breast procedures may have other elements to help them to stay in place within the soft tissue of the breast.

What does a clip look like?


Clips used after breast procedures usually come in several different shapes, since many women have more than one biopsy done during their lives, and it is important to use a different shape of clip for each procedure so that they can be easily identified on mammograms. The clips used are quite small, much smaller than the size of a pea. An image of a clip is shown to the right.

Will I (or my partner) be able to feel the clip?

No, the clips are much too small for anyone to feel them after they have been put in place. They do not set off metal detectors. They cannot be detected by airport security screens. They do not interfere with future imaging studies, such as mammograms or breast MRI. They are very commonly seen on these types of studies and show that a biopsy has been done, which can be helpful in the future for interpreting findings.

Will the clip later be removed?

Not unless there is more surgery done. If the first biopsy is benign, the clip will remain in place and will show where the biopsy was done. If there is any question that requires surgery for an answer, the clip will most often be removed at the time of surgery.