Your physician has referred you to us for an Ultrasound-Guided FNA biopsy. An Ultrasound-Guided FNA biopsy is a simple and accurate test used to diagnose superficial masses (lumps) that can be felt or seen on an ultrasound. It uses a thin needle to remove a small amount of tissue instead of surgery. The tissue obtained is then smeared on a glass slide and examined under a microscope.
If you or your doctor discover a lump, it is important to determine whether or not it is a tumor—either benign or malignant—and gain information necessary for making a treatment plan. FNA can be used to obtain tissue from almost any lump that you can feel, including lumps in the breast, thyroid gland, salivary gland, lymph node, skin, and soft tissues.
You will be asked questions about the history of your lump. If you bring X-rays or other reports from your doctor, they will be reviewed prior to your aspiration biopsy. Depending on the location and size of the lump, separate samples may be drawn in order to ensure good representation of the lump. Anesthesia is not necessary, but topical analgesia is available if you request it.
First, we take a medical history and do a short physical and ultrasound exam. If the mass is accessible, then we numb the area over the mass (lump) with a local anesthetic agent. Next, the biopsy is taken using a thin needle and syringe under ultrasound guidance. The biopsy is brief and usually consists of several “passes” or biopsies taken from different areas of the mass to be certain that the lesion is adequately sampled. Finally, when the procedure is complete, a band-aid is placed over the biopsy site.
The total procedure usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes.
Most people experience no more discomfort than when they have a routine blood test. Following the procedure, you can continue your regular activities the same day. When FNA is performed by an experienced physician, complications are very rare. Occasionally, patients report bruising or tenderness over the biopsy area, but this is usually mild and resolves quickly.
Adiagnosis can be established for approximately 90% of patients. Although results may prove inconclusive in the other 10%, some potentially useful information about the lump will be available to your doctor. Rarely, repeat aspiration may be needed if the lump is not adequately sampled due to its size or location. Also, tissue will be obtained for additional testing if it is required.
You can explore the “What to Expect At Your Biopsy Appointment” section of our website to answer most of your questions. In order to save time when you come to our office, you can download some of the forms that you will be asked to complete when you arrive for your appointment.
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