FNAC or Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology involves using a thin, hollow needle to remove samples of cells from tissue or ﬂuid in an organ or a lump. This is usually done to identify the type of cells inside a lump found in the breast or a gland in the neck, like the thyroid gland. It is a very useful way for detecting cancer.
If you are on blood-thinning medication, please inform your doctor.
You are settled comfortably in an area where your privacy is respected throughout the procedure. You will be asked to change into a gown.
The doctor will clean the skin where the needle is to be inserted. In some cases you will also be given a local anaesthetic to numb the area.
A very thin, hollow needle with a syringe is gently inserted through the skin into the lump or organ. The doctor uses the syringe to help suck some of the cells into the needle by gently pulling on the plunger.
Sometimes, if the lump is very small, a scanning machine is used to help guide the needle to the right place.
The process takes a few seconds to a few minutes. The needle will then gently be removed and your doctor may apply some pressure to help stop any bleeding.
You must wear comfortable clothes until the procedure site is healed completely.
Most ﬁne-needle aspirations are carried out without any problems. Complications are uncommon, but can include soreness for a couple of days or bleeding and bruising, which usually stops and heals quickly.
There are no dietary restrictions post procedure and you may resume normal daily activities.
Final results of testing after a fine needle aspiration can take up to a week or longer. Preliminary results may be available sooner.