Fine Needle Aspiration

Fine needle aspiration is a biopsy procedure performed on lumps that can be felt or identified on mammography or ultrasound. During a fine needle aspiration, the radiologist uses sound waves to locate a suspicious area. A thin needle is then used to obtain a sample of breast tissue cells for further diagnosis.

How Should I Prepare?

  • Wear a comfortable two-piece outfit as you will be asked to undress from the waist up.
  • Eat a light meal prior to the procedure.
  • Do not wear deodorant, lotion, or powder on your breasts, chest or under arms the day of the procedure.
  • Bring a list of any medications you are presently taking and any drug allergies. This includes vitamins, blood thinning herbal medication, and over-the-counter medications.
  • Do not take any aspirin or aspirin-like medications (ibuprofen, Motrin®, Advil®, etc.) for five days before your aspiration.
  • If you are on any prescribed aspirin therapy or blood thinning medication talk to your doctor before discontinuing.
  • Bring or wear a tight fitting bra.

What Should I Expect?

The procedure will usually take less than 30 minutes and generally causes mild to no discomfort. The first part of the procedure will seem much like your original ultrasound. While lying on your back or turned slightly on your side, your breast will be scanned to find the abnormality. A small area of your breast will be cleaned. The Radiologist will then numb the area. You may feel a little stick and some very brief stinging at this point. After the local anesthetic has taken effect, the Radiologist will then insert a fine gauge needle, guide it to the location of the abnormality, and collect tissue cells.

Follow-Up Care

The entire procedure takes ten to twenty minutes. A band-aidis placed on your breast and regular activities can be resumed. You may remove the band-aid and shower the same day. Occasionally, a small hematoma (collection of fresh blood appearing as a red lump under the skin) may occur if a small vessel is ruptured by the insertion of the needle. Tell your physician if this occurs so it can be recorded.

How Do I Get the Results?

A pathologist will examine the tissue cells and will report the findings to your doctor, usually within 3-5 working days. The results of your fine needle aspiration will be made available to you through your referring physician.