You will be put in a position that helps the doctor see the site. You will be asked to stay still. A thin, hollow needle will be inserted through the skin to the site. The needle may need to be inserted more than once. The images may be checked to make sure the needle is in the right place. Tissue or fluid will be drawn through the needle. The needle will be removed after the sample is taken. The site will be bandaged. The sample will be sent to a lab.
How Long Will It Take?
How long it takes will depend on the site:
Simple FNB of a site that is close to the surface of the skin may take a few minutes
Deeper FNB or one that is guided by an ultrasound or CT scan may take 30 to 90 minutes
Will It Hurt?
Mild pain is common in the first 2 days. Medicine and home care can help.
Average Hospital Stay
Most people can go home the same day. If you have any problems, you may need to stay longer.
At the Care Center
You will be able to go home when the anesthesia wears off.
Activity should be limited for the rest of the day. It will take two days for the discomfort to go away.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
Pain, redness, swelling, heat, discharge, or a red streak at the site of the needle insertion
New or unexpected symptoms
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
Biopsy for breast cancer diagnosis: Fine needle aspiration biopsy. UCSF Health website. Available at: https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/biopsy_for_breast_cancer_diagnosis/fine_needle_aspiration_biopsy/index.html. Accessed January 13, 2021.
Fine needle aspiration biopsy. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: http://www.entnet.org/content/fine-needle-aspiration. Accessed January 13, 2021.
Palpable mass evaluation in women. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/evaluation/palpable-breast-mass-evaluation-in-women. Accessed January 13, 2021.
Tani E, Fuentes-Martinez N, et. al. A review of the use of fine-needle aspiration biopsy of mammary tumors for diagnosis and research. Acta Cytologica 2017;61:305-315.
Last reviewed February 2021 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 1/13/2021
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