Texas Tech Health Sciences Center Department of Pathology Fine Needle Aspirations | Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Fine needle aspiration process by a provider


Fine needle aspirations a type of biopsy procedure using a thin needle that is inserted into an area of abnormal appearing tissues or body fluid.

Pathologists will aspirate patients in the hospital or medical office building, usually within one hour of notification by physician, with the exception of frozen sections or conferences, during regular business hours (8:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday).

  • Appropriate consent should be obtained by the physician or nurse practitioner who orders the test.
  • An appropriate local anesthetic, such as 1% lidocaine, should be available.
  • An initial impression will be rendered immediately after the aspirations is performed.
  • In general, a final report will be available within two days, and usually the next business day.
  • The need for special stains or consultation with nationally recognized experts will, of course, cause a delay in the report; but this will be communicated to the clinician.
  • At clinician request, referrals to other physicians can then be made immediately.
  • In all cases, as assessment by the pathologist will be made as to the need for the aspiration.
  • If an aspiration should not be performed, as in the case of a non-palpable breast or thyroid mass, the clinician will be immediately notified.

Aspirations performed by non-pathologists can also be evaluated. An equal number of spray fixed and air-dried smears should be provided. A cell block can be made from material placed in 10% formaldehyde. A final report, excluding the need for special stains or consultation, will be available.


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