Radiofrequency identification tag localization is comparable to wire localization for non-palpable breast lesions

  • Caroline McGugin
  • Tara Spivey
  • Suzanne Coopey
  • Barbara Smith
  • Bridget Kelly
  • Michele Gadd
  • Kevin Hughes
  • Brian Dontchos
  • Michelle SpechtEmail author



Radiofrequency identification (RFID) tag localization (TL) is a technique of localizing non-palpable breast lesions that can be performed prior to surgery. We sought to evaluate whether TL is comparable to wire localization (WL) in regard to specimen size, operative time, and re-excision rate.


A retrospective cohort analysis was performed on TL and WL excisional biopsies and lumpectomies performed by 5 surgeons at 2 institutions. Cases were stratified by surgery type and surgical indication. Associations between localization technique and specimen volume, operative time, and re-excision rate were assessed by univariate and multivariate analyses.


A total of 503 procedures were included, 147 TL (29.2%) and 356 WL (70.8%). Nineteen (12.9%) RFID tags were placed before surgery, ranging 1–22 days. All intended targets were removed. TL and WL excisional biopsy and lumpectomy specimen volumes were similar (p = 0.560 and 0.494). TL and WL excisional biopsy and lumpectomy + SLNB operative times were similar (p = 0.152 and 0.158), but TL lumpectomies without SLNB took longer than WL (57 min vs 49 min; p = 0.027). Re-excision rates were similar by surgical procedure (p = 0.615), surgical indication (DCIS p = 0.145; invasive carcinoma p = 0.759), and confirmed by multivariable analysis (OR 0.754, 95% CI 0.392–1.450; p = 0.397).


TL has similar surgical outcomes to WL with added benefit that TL can occur prior to the day of surgery. TL is an acceptable alternative to WL and should be considered for non-palpable breast lesions.


Tag localization Wireless localization Non-palpable breast lesions 



Dr. Hughes is a speaker for Hologic. Dr. Dontchos is a consultant for GE Healthcare. Drs. McGugin, Spivey, Coopey, Smith, Kelly, Gadd, and Specht have no disclosures to report.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Dr. McGugin declares that she has no conflict of interest. Dr. Spivey declares that she has no conflict of interest. Dr. Coopey declares that she has no conflict of interest. Dr. Smith declares that she has no conflict of interest. Ms. Kelly declares that she has no conflict of interest. Dr. Gadd declares that she has no conflict of interest. Dr. Hughes has received a speaker honorarium from Hologic. Dr. Dontchos has provided consultant work for GE Healthcare. Dr. Specht declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Research involved in human or animal rights

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Surgical OncologyMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA

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