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Breast or lymph node clip placement: Care instructions

Breast or lymph node clip placement

Care instructions

What is a clip placement?

A clip placement is a marker placed in the breast, lymph node, or both. It locates and marks an area of concern that a doctor found on a mammogram or ultrasound. After chemotherapy shrinks the tumour and lymph node, the doctor can still find these areas of concern and remove them.

What should I know before a clip placement?

You may eat before the appointment. The procedure will take about 1 hour.

Please tell the radiologist or technologists if you:

  • have a history of bleeding problems
  • take blood thinners (such as aspirin, warfarin/Coumadin, Xarelto)
  • take an anti-inflammatory (such as NSAIDS, aspirin, or ibuprofen like Advil and Motrin)
  • are allergic to local freezing, tape, latex, or pain medicine
  • take herbal products (such as glucosamine sulphate, vitamin E, ginko biloba)

Don’t use aspirin or ibuprofen products during the 7 days before your clip placement.

Ask your healthcare provider if you should stop taking anti-inflammatories. These medicines can interfere with blood clotting, which can cause bleeding during or after the biopsy. It’s safe to use acetaminophen (Tylenol).

If you take blood thinners, talk to your healthcare provider before any procedure. Blood thinners can lead to a higher risk of bleeding.

What happens during a clip placement?

For the clip placement:

  • You will lie on your back on a padded table.
  • You will have an ultrasound of your breast, lymph node, or both to find the area of concern.
  • Your skin will be cleaned with a cool antiseptic solution.
  • Local anesthetic (numbing medicine) will be injected to freeze the area where the clip will be put in. This may sting for 5 to 10 seconds.
  • The clip will be guided into the breast or armpit while the radiologist is doing the ultrasound. You may feel some pressure as the clip is being put in.

What happens after the procedure?

The clip placement site will be covered with a light gauze dressing or a bandage that you can take off in 24 hours. A gentle mammogram will be done after the clip placement. You may take acetaminophen for discomfort if you need to. Take it easy for the rest of the day.

You can go back to your regular activities after the clip placement if you feel up to it.

To see this information online and learn more, visit

For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information call Health Link at 811.

Current as of: January 16, 2020

Author: Women’s Health, Alberta Health Services

Care instructions may be adapted by your healthcare provider. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, talk with your doctor or appropriate healthcare provider.