Ultrasound Guided Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA)

A Breast Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) is a quick and simple procedure to remove fluid or cells from a breast lesion or cyst (a lump, sore or swelling) with a fine needle similar to a blood sample needle. The sample fluid or cells are sent to a pathology laboratory to be examined by a specialist doctor (a cytologist).

  • About Ultrasound Guided FNA

    An FNA is performed to help determine the nature or diagnosis of the lesion and to plan treatment if necessary. Breast FNA may also be used to aspirate a cyst using the needle draw fluid from the cyst to remove it completely or relieve discomfort if the cyst is large and tender. The doctor may use ultrasound guidance for the FNA with. This shows an image of the inside of your breast on a screen to allow the doctor to visualise the needle is going into the lesion.

  • Your appointment and preparation

    A referral from your doctor or medical specialist and an appointment is required for this examination. Please let us know when making your appointment if you are taking medication that makes you bruise or bleed easily.

  • What can I expect during my Ultrasound Guided FNA?

    When you arrive at Apex Radiology you will be asked to remove all jewellery and clothing from the waist up, and change into a loose fitting examination gown. The procedure will be explained and you will be asked to lie on the examination table.

    The skin of your breast washed with antiseptic. A thin needle (similar to a needle used for taking a blood sample), is placed through the skin into the breast, often using ultrasound guidance, to sample the area of interest. The needle stays in the breast for a short time, while it is gently moved back and forth to enable cells to be collected. Please allow about an hour for the procedure.

  • What are the risks and side effects?

    Breast FNA is a safe procedure, it is common to get a small bruise on the skin following an FNA and occasionally a bruise may develop in the breast tissue which causes a tender lump. This usually settles within a few days. Infection is rare following FNA. Please let your doctor know if you develop any concerning symptoms after the FNA.

  • Who will perform my Ultrasound Guided FNA and write the report?

    At Apex Radiology your Breast FNA will be performed by a radiologist (a doctor specialising in medical imaging), who will send a report to your referring doctor detailing the procedure that has been performed. The results from the FNA will be provided directly to your referring doctor by the Pathology provider that the sample is sent to.

  • What should I expect after my Ultrasound Guided FNA?

    After your Breast FNA procedure, the biopsy site may be tender or show some bruising. You may place an ice pack over the site for no more than 20 minutes. To relieve any discomfort we suggest taking Paracetamol; otherwise, no special care is required.

    • You will be able to leave the clinic immediately after the procedure.
    • You may drive yourself home after the procedure.
    • You may resume your normal activities.
    • You may remove the adhesive dressing on the evening of the FNA
    • If your breast becomes red, swollen or tender in the days after your FNA, please consult your referring doctor or contact the Apex Radiology to review the Breast FNA site.
  • How do I obtain my results?

    The results from the Breast FNA will be provided directly to your referring doctor by the Pathology provider that the sample has been sent to. Results from FNA are usually available within 36 hours but can take up to 5 days. Sometimes results from FNA may be inconclusive and require repeat or further tests. Please ensure that you make a follow up appointment with your referring doctor or health care provider to discuss your results.

    Apex Radiology offers Ultrasound Guided FNA at:

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