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How long does a Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy take?

Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy

If you or your doctor has detected a suspicious lump, your doctor may ask you to have a fine needle aspiration biopsy to gather more information about it. In this blog, the board-certified radiologists at Neighborhood Radiology Services in metro New York explain more about fine needle aspiration biopsy, including how long the procedure takes:

What is a fine needle aspiration biopsy?

Fine needle aspiration (FNA) is a type of biopsy. It’s a minimally invasive procedure that utilizes a thin needle to take a small sample of abnormal-looking tissue. It usually causes little or no discomfort, since the needle is smaller than what’s normally used in biopsy procedures. The procedure is often performed to make or rule out a diagnosis such as cancer.

What is a fine needle aspiration biopsy used for?

It’s often used to test for breast cancer, since it can reveal whether a lump is a fluid-filled cyst or a solid mass that may be cause for concern. It’s also often used to test in the following areas:

  • Thyroid gland
  • Lymph nodes in the neck, groin, or armpit

What happens during a fine needle aspiration biopsy?

Neighborhood Radiology Services will give you the chance to ask any questions you may have before the procedure. Depending on the circumstances, you may receive a local anesthetic if it’s needed to make you more comfortable.

A radiologist will use a very small needle – smaller than what’s used for a blood test – to remove a small bit of tissue from the area of concern. A few samples may need to be taken to ensure that enough tissue is gathered for adequate testing. This reduces the chance that the test will need to be repeated.

How long does this type of biopsy take?

Each sample can be quickly obtained, and the entire procedure usually takes no more than 15 minutes.

How do you prepare for this procedure?

Little preparation is required. You’ll have to complete some routine bloodwork a few weeks before. You may be advised to avoid aspirin or many other over-the-counter painkillers a week before the procedure, but it’s usually OK to take Tylenol.

You may also be asked to not eat for a specified time before your fine needle aspiration biopsy.

Your doctor may also prescribe an antibiotic for you to take for a week or so prior to your procedure.

What should you expect after the procedure?

Significant complications are quite rare. You may feel slight tenderness or have bruising in the area for a few days, but this can be relieved with an over-the-counter pain medication.

You’ll usually get the results of your fine needle aspiration biopsy within just a few days. They may clearly show cancer, or they may be able to show that the lump is benign (non-cancerous). In some cases, the results may be less clear, and in this case, you may need to have a surgical biopsy to gather more information.

If you need a fine needle aspiration biopsy, contact us today for a consultation with Neighborhood Radiology Services. We have locations throughout the New York metropolitan area, and our board-certified radiologists utilize the latest and highest quality equipment to produce timely and accurate results. Fill out the form on this page to request an appointment or call 800-220-2220 to learn more.

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