Clip-marking is a technique where a small device of 2-3 mm is placed in the breast tissue to locate where the surgical excision needs to be made in women with breast cancer lesions.


If you have a breast lesion that may be a sign of cancer, at the time of the biopsy, should a clip-marking be placed to mark the exact location of the lesion in view of a possible future surgery?

Yes, the ECIBC's Guidelines Development Group (GDG) suggests the use of clip-marking.

Who is this recommendation for?

  • You had a mammogram or other screening test that showed a lesion
  • You may have been told that if the lesion is a sign of cancer, you may have surgery.

What would following this recommendation mean for you?

It might be important to speak with your healthcare professional about:

  • how and when the clip insertion is performed
  • how you feel about having the clip in the breast
  • the implications of the clip insertion in managing therapy
  • your comfort during and after the biopsy
  • side-effects from having a second intervention if the clip is not inserted during the initial biopsy

If surgery is not needed, the clip will remain in the breast and you should mention it before having other medical procedures, such as magnetic resonance, x-ray or other scans.

Additional considerations

When using clip-marking for planning surgery there may be less chances of a breast cancer coming back (recurrence) after treatment, because the probability that the tumour is completely removed is higher.

Also, it is less likely that cancerous cells remain in the body (positive margins).

The  GDG noted that the costs for clips are high. They also noted that the materials used in most clips are known to be safe from their use in other devices.

Documentation for professionals