Fine Needle Aspiration

Why is it done?

Fine needle aspiration (FNA) is like a medical detective tool. If you have a lump or bump, doctors use FNA to take a small sample to check if it’s harmless or something to worry about. We perform FNA is our weekly clinic, which attended by a ‘cytologist’ from a private laboratory. The benefit of having a cytologist on site is that it allows the test to be adjusted using real-time feedback, reduced the chance of having a non- diagnostic biopsy and reduced the number of ‘passes’ required.

How does it work?

  1. The procedure is explained and consent obtained.
  2. Setup: The skin over the lump is cleaned.
  3. The Test: Local anaesthetic is injected to make the procedure as comfortable as possible. A tiny needle (smaller or the same size as a blood test needle) is gently pushed into the lump to collect a tiny sample. This takes just a couple of minutes.
  4. Checking the Sample: The sample is then looked at under a microscope by an Pathologist to figure out what the lump is.

Are there any risks?

FNA is a commonly performed procedure that is very well tolerated for the majority of patients without complication.


  • There might be a tiny bit of bleeding where the needle went in.
  • The spot might be a little sore afterward.
  • Very rarely, the sample might not give clear answers, so you might need another test or have the FNA repeated. As mentioned above we run our weekly FNA clinic with a cytologist on site, which reduced the chance of a ‘non-diagnostic’ biopsy.


At the time of booking our staff will ask if you are taking any blood thinners. In some cases ceasing blood thinners may be required, however if this is the case it will be discussed with your doctor first.


Results are provided by the private pathology provider the sample is sent to. We use Douglas Hanley Moir. Results take between 2-5 working days to be received by your referring doctor.

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