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Wednesday, April 20, 2011 CD, Community Member, asks

Q: Could marker be cause of my pain?

I had a stereotactic biopsy done 4 weeks ago and had no real problems like pain, swelling or bruising. My pathology showed "organizing fat necrosis", micro calcifications, and foreign body reaction; I had a reduction 3 yrs ago so they think have been a suture that failed to dissolve. And in my tissue samples there was a dark brown specimen that could have possibly been that. In any case the report said no evidence of cancer in the specimens provided. About a week after the biopsy I started experiencing itching in that breast but chalked it up to healing. The itchiness has become increasingly worse and about 3 or 4 days ago that breast also started to ache. Today I woke up I excruciating pain, can't move or lift my arm without tears of pain. Thinking maybe I had developed an abcess or maybe an issue with the marker I called the office where the biopsy was done and asked if I should see someone there or go to my primary doctor. I was told to come in immediately for an ultrasound to rule out an abcess. The doctor told me nothing showed on the ultrasound that would explain my pain. After the tech pointed out an area to the doctor in the area where the marker was place and the doctor dismissed it by saying it was probably just the marker itself I asked him if I could be having a reaction to the marker his answer was "no, it never happens". He suggested I go see a breast specialist and maybe they could figure out the cause of my pain, but again he saw nothing to indicate a problem. So, feeling like I was blown off and not believed about the extent of my pain I came online to research issues regarding these markers. I came across this site showing others who have had the same issues and am now concerned that it is in fact the marker causing my sudden pain. After getting blown off by this one doctor I'm afraid I will continue to not be believed or told it can't possibly be the marker behind this. I do have a history of autoimmune issues, multiple drug and food allergies so to me having an issue with this "foreign body" seems plausible. Am I reaching for straws here? And if, not how do I go about getting a doctor to even consider that it just might be the marker?
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Answers (2)
PJ Hamel, Health Guide
4/20/11 4:50pm

I think there's enough anecdotal evidence that titanium markers do, indeed, cause pain and a bad reaction in some women. So "It never happens" isn't an acceptable response. You might consider printing out our post on titanium markers, and the reactions some women have had, and showing it to your doctor. If he continues to blow you off, ask about getting a second opinion. If he won't help, go to the social workers at your hospital, explain your problem, and ask for help - that's what they're there for, to facilitate patient relations with the medical system. Somewhere, there's a surgeon who'll remove this for you; you just have to find him/her. Don't give up; it's tough to advocate for yourself when no one seems to want to help, but keep trying. You don't want to continue to go through this pain if you can avoid it. Good luck - PJH

lc, Community Member
5/10/12 10:32am



I had breast cancer surgery and they left the marker inside of my body as well.  They surgon stated that they usually remove the marker, however it was no longer where they had placed it in the body.  After surgery, it took me a long time to heal and it was very painful.  I went back to the Breast Surgery Center and complained about the pain, but they said that it was normal.  I asked if the marker could be causing this pain and they said no.  I am allergic to alot of things as well, such as fresh fruit and veggies, just to name a few.  I had the surgery a year ago and I still have pain as if something is sticking me,and itching. 

PJ Hamel, Health Guide
5/10/12 11:29am

Could be that marker is touching a nerve; or, though very rare, you could be allergic to it. I'm sorry the folks at the breast surgery center told you the marker couldn't be causing the pain, as that's just not true – it's unlikely, but not impossible.


If it really bothers you, perhaps you need a referral for a second opinion with another surgeon, to see about getting it removed. Good luck - I hope you can get this resolved. PJH

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By CD, Community Member— Last Modified: 05/10/12, First Published: 04/20/11