Surgical Clips left in after op!

Hi…just wondered if anyone else has experienced the same as me. I had a lumpectomy and lymph nodes removed last September followed by chemo and rads. I have just had a routine chest xray due to pains in my back and side on the same side as my operation. The results came back clear but it did say that there were surgical clips left in. Is this normal and could it have something to do with the pains I am getting?? The doctor said it wasnt and said I must have just pulled a muscle and gave me painkillers! At no point has my Onc, breast surgeon or breast nurse told me I still have clips left in my body. Surely I had a right to know?

It is routine to leave titanium markers where the tumour was during a lumpectomy. These are then used for positining and planning radiotherapy. Hope that this helps to settle your mind.

Hi,It is very common to have clips left in after breast surgery,they are unlikely to cause any pain.The pain is more likely to be caused by nerves being affected by the surgery.
Surgeons should of course explain about the clips!

Thanks for your replies. I will be seeing my reconstruction surgeon on Monday so will mention it to him. xx

Hi Paris, I too had clips left in and wasnt told but in my case it was because an artery was cut during the surgery and the clips were used to stop the bleeding. I had a recurrence in this area but dont know if the clips were removed even then.

I had pain in op area several times and believe it or not one reason was playing games on my computer too much and overstraining muscle, lol, its very easy to do, so pain could well be a pulled muscle but if you dont feel happy with dx tell your breastcare nurse orOnc and tell them you want further investigations.

Best of luck

Ann B

I wasn’t told about the clips, either. It was only because I read about it on here that I asked at the hospital. I often suspect that they cause me discomfort when lying on that side but they are very small.

Ann x


I had clips left in after my Lumpectomy for the Radiographers to position me for Rads.

It was a little uncomfortable at first, but now I hardly feel them.

Hi, I also found out today I have them too… Do they get removed or stay…

Teresa x

Yes, so did I, MostonMauler, but no-one told me.

Apparently, they stay, muffett.

Ann x

Website being slow again and I posted twice - sorry.

I only found out that I had clips left in when I had to go for a barium swallow and it was reported that I had surgical clips under my diaphram. They are actually in my boob (No, they don’t droop that far down!) it was the angle they viewed them. I do think that the surgeons should mention these clips at the time of surgery.

if you are having a lumpectomy clips are put in as standard in case they need to do a re-excision… they will then know where they have already been and where then need to remove more tissue… the clips are tiny only about 1-2mm.

I thought they were put there for rads planning.


not for rads planning where i am… the rads planning just works out around your boob so its dependant on the size and shape of the breast… when you get a booster the consultant sends you for an ultra sound of where the cancer actually was and draws a box around it… it doesnt show up the clips but shows up the scar tissue from the surgery.

it may be different at different hospitals but radiotherapy is given to the rest of the breast as the surgery has hopefully removed the whole tumour and they want sterilise the rest of the breast incase any wee stray cells are there… depend on where it was in your breast they may want to give you a booster to your skin and that is above where the tumour was and thats when they draw a wee box on you.

hope that makes sense


Hi I asked today at my appt about this. Titanium markers were put in at my WLE in May in case re-excision needed. It was I had more surgery to get clear margins in June and they were removed then. For my rads I will have a CT scan then planning for direction of rays etc, all that will be done on same day. Presumably if I had not needed re-excision the markers would have be left in.Was assured they had nothing to do with rads in my case. BCN said Titanium doesn’t set off the machines at airports co what a relief.Jackie

Hi, I had a double bilateral mastectomy in 2010. Started by reconstruction a couple of months later. Then had to have my breasts redone in 2014. After having them redone in 2014 I told my surgeon I didn’t feel right in the left side. The pain gets so bad sometimes that I think I’m having a heart attack and no one can figure out why. And now I’m starting to wonder if that’s why I’m having all this pain. My immune system has been down and sick ever since I had them redone. Could this be a result of the Surgical clips? If anyone else knows please let me know