The Real Truth About Fine Needle Aspiration


As the article in reference has indicated, we have come a long way in accurately assessing and diagnosing cancer at the cellular level.  In fact, most criteria for diagnosing cancer, require astute evaluation of tumor cells to determine it’s neoplastic nature.

Fine Needle Aspiration, either by direct sampling of tumor by a physician or assisted by imaging studies through radiologist, should be the mainstay in diagnosing cancerous tumors as a triage, for instance, before more expensive and debilitating open tissue biopsy or excision.

Fine-Needle Aspiration requires a simple procedure with similarity as with drawing blood through routine phlebotomy.

1. The Skin is prepped by simply using proper protocol for cleaning with an antiseptic solution for deeper organ-aspiration, or sterile alcohol-wipes for superficial aspiration, as with Breast, Soft tissue, or Lymph node for example.

2. A fine-needle, size generally about 22 gauge, attached to a syringe for aspirating cells, is used.

3. The needle with attached syringe is inserted directly into the lump or “mass” by palpation or direct imaging study such as Sonogram, CT scan, etc.  A pinch-like pain is experienced briefly which goes away soon thereafter.  No local or generalized anesthesia is required typically.

4. Cells are aspirated by negative pressure via suction technique with the syringe, with slight, small cutting motion while attempting to remove cells from the lump or mass.

5. Once fluid is visible in the “hub of the needle”, then the procedure is terminated, and pressure is applied for appropriate amount of time to achieve hemostasis or to stop any potential for bleeding, which is typically absent or minimal in person without bleeding abnormality

6.  The aspirated sample is smeared onto a glass slide and stained with a simple blue dye (CLICK HERE) to determine adequacy to derive at an accurate diagnosis.

7. Generally, up to three passes may be necessary to achieve adequate material for evaluation, so the above steps may be repeated.

8. The Final Aspirated Cells are subjected to further study and/or investigational analysis with special stains or additional specialized studies such as molecular studies.

9. An image or video demonstration can be accompanied with the FINAL ANATOMIC DIAGNOSTIC REPORT.

The FNA is an acceptable procedure performed by a broad spectrum of physicians, pathologists, and radiologists, and is affordable through MDC-Atlanta.  Significant Risks, such as infection, bleeding, scarring, etc, for the FNA procedure are minimal as compared to an open tissue biopsy!

WE, at MDC-ATLANTA, remain committed to keeping our patients informed for better quality, safe, and affordable medical care.


Written By: Dr. Jackson Gates

Dr. Jackson L. Gates, MD serves as our Founder & President of Medical Diagnostic Choices. He has personally diagnosed, treated, and reviewed well over 100,000 combined, clinical and laboratory medicine cases over his community-based medical practice career.

August 9, 2014

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