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Fine needle aspiration (FNA)

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Consultants who perform this procedure

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Why would I need a fine needle aspiration?

It might be recommended that you undergo a fine needle aspiration if an imaging abnormality was found during a mammogram or breast ultrasound. This could be an indication of breast cancer or another issue.

When should you speak to your specialist about a fine needle aspiration?

If you have undergone a breast ultrasound or mammogram, and an imaging abnormality was found, it might be recommended that you have a fine needle aspiration so it can be determined why this abnormality was present.

How is a fine needle aspiration performed?

A fine needle aspiration only takes approximately 15 minutes and you might be given a local anaesthetic.

During the procedure, your specialist will do a breast ultrasound to find the spot where they will want to take a sample from.

They will then insert a small needle into this spot, remove tissue and fluid and then apply a plaster to the area where the needle was inserted.

What is the recovery for a fine needle aspiration?

The recovery from a fine needle aspiration can depend on a variety of factors, and you should discuss this with your specialist.

You and your specialist will discuss your plan for recovery and can give you more specific information about what you can expect afterwards prior to your fine needle aspiration.

Are there any risks/complications associated with a fine needle aspiration?

As with any medical procedure, it is possible for risks or complications to arise. It is best that you speak with your specialist about how best to avoid any adverse reactions.

How can I prepare for a fine needle aspiration?

Before you undergo a fine needle aspiration, you should discuss any questions you have about the procedure or its recovery with your specialist.

There is very little preparation needed prior to your fine needle aspiration, however, if you are taking any blood thinning medications, you might be advised by your specialist to stop taking them in the run up to the procedure.

Your specialist will advise you of any specific preparations that you should make in advance of your fine needle aspiration.

Are there alternatives for a fine needle aspiration?

 Your specialist will decide if there are other tests that might be beneficial to you. These could include:

  • Vacuum biopsy
  • Needle biopsy
  • Punch biopsy
  • Wire guided excision biopsy
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