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Ultrasound-Guided Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) Biopsy


The FNA biopsy service run by the Department of Pathology is not presently accepting new patients.

Instead, you may contact the Department of Radiology at 718-270-3122 to schedule an inpatient or outpatient biopsy.


Clinical Indications for FNA Biopsy

Any palpable lesion of concern (these generally measure at least 1 cm in greatest dimension).

Ultrasound guidance is used to enhance biopsy precision and is especially valuable with non-palpable, sub-centimeter and complex cystic lesions.

Common sites for FNA biopsy include:

  • Lymph nodes

  • Thyroid and salivary glands

  • Other head & neck lesions


Advantages to Cytopathologist Performed FNA Biopsy

Many of the following advantages stem from the optimized clinical pathologic correlation that results from the same physician evaluating the patient, performing the procedure and reviewing the pathology.

A portion of the biopsy sample is viewed microscopically at the time of biopsy:

  • Allowing immediate preliminary diagnosis and providing rapid alleviation of patient anxiety.

  • Allowing appropriate triaging for special studies (e.g., immunostaining, flow cytometry, molecular-genetic, microbiology, etc.).

  • Allowing prompt planning or ruling out of subsequent investigative procedures.

Sample is optimally prepared (i.e., smeared, fixed, etc.).

Non-diagnostic / unsatisfactory results are minimized.

Final cytologic diagnosis is more precise.

Management recommendations are tailored for each patient.


General Information and Benefits of FNA Biopsy

FNA biopsy is a fast, exceptionally safe, minimally invasive and highly cost effective procedure similar to routine phlebotomy (i.e., blood draw).

Most lesions for which a biopsy is clinically indicated are amenable to sampling by FNA.

When performed by an experienced physician, FNA biopsy will typically either:

1. Provide reassurance by confirming the benignity of a lesion, or
2. Establish an initial or recurrent pathologic diagnosis.


In the minority of cases for which the FNA biopsy result is inconclusive, patients will be appropriately triaged for either:

1. Close clinical follow up, or

2. Core versus open biopsy.

In fact, there are several advantages to the initial evaluation of lesions by FNA biopsy when compared to core biopsy or open biopsy:

  • Minimal discomfort during and after procedure

  • No scarring

  • Anesthesia is generally unnecessary

  • Multiple lesions can be sampled with minimal trauma

  • Can be performed in high risk (virtually any) patient

  • Can be performed as an outpatient procedure

  • May serve as both a diagnostic and therapeutic procedure for some lesions such as cysts and abscesses

  • Rapid turnaround time for final diagnosis