Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy FAQ

What is a Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy?

Usually a Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy is performed to diagnose the cause and nature of a growth or lump (tumor). A very thin needle is inserted into the lump to remove minute fragments for examination under a microscope to try to determine its cause. This technique is frequently used to determine if a tumor is benign (no cancer) or malignant (cancer). This technique can be used to obtain material from an infection for further laboratory tests to determine the best drug to treat the infection. The results of this test, together possibly with other studies, will help guide your physician in determining the best treatment.

Will the test spread the disease and are there any complications?

Because such a thin needle is used in this procedure the risk of spreading tumor essentially does not exist. Significant complications are extremely rare with this technique. The most common complication is for blood to collect at the site of the aspiration causing a hematoma (bruise), but this doesn’t usually require any treatment or at most you may want to apply a cold compress to the site. Even patients taking aspirin, Advil® or other non-steroidal anti-inflmmatory drugs should not experience significant bleeding. If you have a severe bleeding disorder or are taking blood thinners such as Heparin, Coumadin® or Plavix® you should discuss with their physician discontinuing the use of these drugs 3-5 days prior to the procedure. In the very rare event that you should experience significant difficulty in breathing some time after the procedure you should contact your physician.

How long will the procedure take and will I experience any discomfort?

The procedure takes about 15-20 minutes. Since such a small needle is used, most patients do not find this procedure very uncomfortable. In fact, we do not usually use a local anesthetic because most patients tell us that receiving the local anesthetic stings more than the procedure itself. Also use of a local anesthetic may mix with and distort the material we are trying to examine. If you experience discomfort after the procedure Aspirin or Tylenol or the application of an ice pack may help relieve any discomfort.

Will I need to take off from work?

You need to take off only the time required to have the procedure performed, you may go back to work or school the same day. If you need a note for your absence for your employer or school please notify our receptionist.

Can I eat or take medications before the procedure?

Yes, you do not need to alter your daily routine for this procedure.

Can I drive after the procedure? Are there any restrictions to my activity following the procedure?

Driving is fine. There are no restrictions to your normal activities.

When can I expect results from this test?

Your physician will generally receive results from this test within two working days. They may, however, be awaiting results from other tests before determining what is the best course of action for treatment. If you have not heard from your physician within a week you should contact them to determine what the plan of action may be.

Will I need to pay for the procedure before it is done?

Our billing office will be happy to file with your insurance company. If a co-pay is required we will ask for payment at the time of your appointment. If you have any questions about our billing procedures, please call our Billing Department at 210-892-3700 and choose Option 2.

Areas of Expertise

  • Anatomic Pathology
  • CT and GC
  • Cytopathology
  • Dermatopathology
  • Fine Needle Aspirations
  • GI Pathology
  • Group B Strep
  • Gyn Pathology
  • Hematopathology
  • HPV
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In-situ Hybridization Testing
  • Oral Pathology
  • Podiatric Pathology
  • Pediatric Pathology
  • SurePath™
  • Test List
  • Thin Prep™ Plus Imaging
  • Urovysion
  • Urologic Pathology

9600 Datapoint Drive
San Antonio, Texas 78229