Cytodiagnosis refers to the evaluation of cells obtained during a needle aspiration under a microscope. If your diagnostic mammogram indicates that there is an abnormality, additional testing may indicate the need for a biopsy.
Our pathologists are highly experienced experts in breast cancer cytodiagnosis. When a biopsy is required, we use fine needle aspiration (FNA) and ultrasound-guided FNA biopsy, whenever possible, to obtain tissue cells to analyze for the presence of breast cancer. This usually provides an immediate diagnosis with fewer side effects than a core biopsy or surgical biopsy.
Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy
A fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy is a diagnostic test on a palpable lump or a lump detected by ultrasound. It is the fastest and easiest biopsy method.
During this test, we insert a very small needle to draw some cells from the lump. A pathologist will then examine the biopsy sample.
Benefits of FNA Biopsy
Though FNA biopsy removes only a small sample of cells from a mass, it allows for determination of whether the cells are benign, suspicious, or malignant (cancerous).
An FNA biopsy does not require stitches and can be performed on an outpatient basis. There is no need for local anesthetic. Any pain is usually minimal, and most patients do not experience significant discomfort and are able to return to normal activity immediately. Many patients compare the procedure to having blood drawn.
FNA Biopsy for Non-Breast Disease
At The Leslie Simon Breast Care and Cytodiagnosis Center, FNA is performed on lesions anywhere in the body. The majority of nodules tend to be either breast or thyroid lesions; however, we also examine lymph nodes, salivary gland lesions, head and neck lesions, and other soft tissue masses.
A core biopsy uses a larger needle than an FNA biopsy. A core needle obtains a piece of tissue that is sent to the lab for processing. This usually takes 24-48 hours. A core needle biopsy is performed with local anesthesia to numb the area, similar to the medication that is used by dentists.