Insertion of a metal coil into tumour

Hi all, I am happy to have found such a supportive community here :slight_smile: I am posting on behalf of my mother-in-law (who is utterly lost when it comes to internet etc.!)
She has a tumour in her right breast and has been on hormonal treatment to reduce the size of the tumour - it has successfully shrunk in size so far (after 6 weeks) and will be operated on in about 2 months time, hopefully. The doctor has told her that a few weeks before the op they will insert a metal coil into the tumour. From what I have found out it is simply a way to localise a tumour that has shrunk in size, for excision… but her actual worry is what this coil is, how they insert it and whether it’s uncomfortable etc. (seeing as she will have to live with it for a few weeks!) I cannot find any testimony to this so if any of you have experienced this or have any info I would really appreciate being able to reassure her with your stories! She is getting on for 70 and seems a bit overwhelmed by it all! Thank you all so much in advance - We feel very far away from her as we live over in France and can’t go with her to the doctors etc. so it would be nice if we could pass on some solid info over the 'phone! x :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

i am bumping this up for you as i have not had this myself but others may have missed your post.

My lump didnt have to be reduced before my surgery, but they did have to mark it with a metal wire before surgery to assist the surgeon to properly locate it. This was called a wire guided lumpectomy. I am not sure if it is the same thing as you mum in law will be having done? Maybe you could phone her breast cancer nurse yourself and check, if your mum in law agrees and gives them her permission to talk to you.

For me, the morning of my operation, they gave me a tiny needle in my affected breast to put in local anaesthetic and the area was immediately numbed. I can honestly say that it did not hurt. It was like a slight scratch, nothing like the biopsies. Then i had an ultrasound scan and they located the lump, and then with a needle they guided a wie in to the right place. The wire literally stuck out of my breast by about 10 to 20cms. I then had a mammogram, agai to help during surgery, and then the wire sort of wound itself round a bit and they put a dressing over it. They obviously took the wire out during the op! I had no discomfort from the wire, and i think the local had worn off quite a while before my op, which was the last one of the day.
As i said, i am not sure thats anything like your mum in laws procedure but it may help! I am 36 by the way.

Your mother in law is very lucky to have such a supportive daughter in law, i hope it all goes very well for you all


Hello BeckAng,
So sorry that your mother in law is having to go through all of this problem with the coil insert. I havev’t heard of the coil but I was the same as Vickie having a wire guided lumpectomy, the proceedure was exactlly the same as that which Vickie has just described and it all went well.
I hope that someone else is able to give you more information with regards to the coil insert and that all goes well for her.

Best Wishes,

Isabelle xxx

Hi ,I am not sure either about a coil,but when I had my biopsy they put in a marker which was no different to a biopsy.Its a tiny bit of metal (actually shaped like the breast cancer ribbon!)I don’t know if this is what they mean.
I am sure if it is going to be there for a few weeks it won’t be uncomfortable.
Best Wishes

Ditto Tors and Izzybelle - in comparison to all the other stuff it was no problem at all!!

P x

I had the same treatment with an aromatase inhibitor to shrink my tumour prior to surgery, a metal coil was inserted into the centre of it under ultrasound guidance. This was to ensure that should the tumour virtually disappear the surgeon can accurately remove the area where the tumour was. The procedure is very quickly done and was painless. Although my tumour didn’t disappear it halved in size allowing me to have a lumpectomy rather than mastectomy. I hope this is helpful and good luck to your mother in law.
Best wishes to all.

My wife has has this too. She has opted for chemo before surgery with the aim of retaining her breast.

On making that decision the team requested an extra ultrasound to get a better picure of the start point. During that ultrasound they put in the little metal clip as a marker. They then did another mammogram to make absolutely sure it was in the right place. When I saw the mammogram I make exactly the same comment as Dotchas - it looking like the ribbon.

While not exactly pleasant, it looked less unpleasant than the biopsies.

No matter what happens in chemo, my wife will still be getting surgery, and apparently there is a 25% chance the tumour will completely disappear but they still want to remove the affected area. The clip locates it accurately.

Hi Beck Ang I had a metal marker put into my tumour prior to chemo to hopefully shrink it.I was told that if the tumour disappeared with chemo the surgeon would still have to remove some tissue to check and needed to have it marked.It was similar to having a biopsy in reverse and was ultra sound guided. I was told it was 1/2 the size of a very small staple. Having it put in was painless and I was completely unware that it was there.It showed up on a chest x-ray that I had to have sometime later ( not related to BC) and when a worried looking radiographer came to ask about it I had to think what she meant. It was in the tumour when removed during WLE. Hope this helps. Please ask if there are any more queries that one of us maybe able to help with.Wishing you and your m-i-l well. Jackie

Don’t worry at all!!! I had a lump 3.6cm x 2cm but as I was only 33 they chose chemo prior to surgery. At the time, I was terrified and wanted to “get it out!!!” and couldn’t understand why everyone else had a mastectomy of lumpectomy first. I had a clip inserted in between chemo 1 & 2, to tell you the size of it, the surgeon marked it with a biro without the inner bit (ie a biro without the writing bit!), it was done under a local anesthectic and it was a little bit sore for a couple of days. My chemo worked so well that by the time of surgery, the lump had reduced to barely nothing, only a few “suspicious cells” so I only had a lumpectomy. Stick with it, think of the positives and if you can, have a laugh with your friends and family. The world is full of well-meaning individuals but everyone of us is different so live life to the full and take this as one of life’s experiences. (I know easier said than done!)

Go for it


Hi everyone,
Thank you so much for your replies - has taken away the mystery of the situation! None of us know anyone who has been through this same procedure and we were having real trouble finding any information online! I have read your messages to her and she was really pleased -not only by your reassurances but by all your kind wishes too :slight_smile:
Thanks, it really is invaluable to hear things first hand from people who have been there!
We wish you all the best aswell and I send you a big ‘bon courage!’ from over here in France - you all seem so courageous and positive, I am in admiration!
Love and light to you all

Becky x