Fine Needle Aspiration biopsy
(FNA) uses a very thin needle attached to a syringe to withdraw (aspirate) a sample from a mass that can be felt (palpated) or a mass that can be visualized by ultrasound. The FNA sample consists of small tissue fragments and individual cells. The sample (tissue) is spread on a glass microscope slide, stained and looked at under the microscope. The needles used for FNA biopsy are typically smaller than needles used to draw blood. The needles are so t
hin that a local injectable anesthetic is usually not used. However, at OCC we use a topical lidocaine gel or ethyl chloride spray prior to the biopsy for patient comfort. FNA biopsies can usually be done, even if the patient is taking an anticoagulant. Most masses are sampled 3 to 4 times for a FNA biopsy to allow for adequate sampling.