Diagnostic Testing and Procedures



Based on the results of your exam, your physician may decide it’s necessary to remove fluid or tissue from the breast to be sent to the lab to look for cancer cells. The procedure is called a biopsy. It can be done using a needle to get a piece of the area of concern, or it can be done with surgery.

Diagnostic Testing and Procedures at NSMC Salem Hospital and the Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care:

Fine needle aspiration biopsy


A physician may use this procedure when a breast mass is easily felt. A thin needle is inserted into the area of concern and fluid or a small amount of tissue is extracted and analyzed for cancer cells.

Ultrasound-guided cyst aspiration


Ultrasound technology is used to guide physicians as they remove fluid from a breast cyst to be analyzed for cancer cells.

Ultrasound-guided breast core biopsy


Using ultrasound technology, a radiologist confirms the location for biopsy with a core needle. Cells are extracted and analyzed for the presence of cancer cells.

Stereotactic core breast biopsy


Mammography (x-ray from two angles) and a computer guidance system is used to guide the radiologist in precisely locating the area to be biopsied with a core needle.

Needle localization procedures


Mammography helps radiologists locate and mark the area of concern preoperatively for the surgeon.

The following MRI procedure is performed at NSMC Magnetic Imaging in Peabody:

MRI-guided core biopsy


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guides the radiologist in obtaining a small tissue sample for biopsy.