It is often not possible for medical imaging to show for certain if an abnormality such as a lump or growth is benign or cancerous. FNAs are an extremely accurate method of determining not only the composition of the abnormality but also its characteristics. This provides your referring doctor with important information when deciding if further treatment is necessary. When performed under ultrasound guidance FNAs can accurately remove a sample from the lump which is sent to pathology for further investigation.
Locating the lesion using ultrasound is performed by specialist staff known as a Sonographer. Once the lesion has been located and identified, a specialist radiologist doctor will perform the FNA. The sample taken will then be sent to a pathologist to be examined.
In most cases you will be required to remove any clothing that obstructs the area which is to be sampled and put on one of the gowns provided. Once in the ultrasound room you will be asked to lie on the examining table by the Sonographer. Conductive gel will be applied to the relevant area and an instrument called a transducer will be passed over the gel until the lesion is identified. Images will appear on the screen showing the lesion. Using the images from the ultrasound, the radiologist guides a fine needle directly into the lesion and removes a sample. Once the Radiologist and Sonographer are happy that a sufficient sample of the lesion has been obtained your examination is over. Images showing the needle obtaining a sample of the lesion are available for you to take to your next doctors appointment within around 10 minutes after your examination. The whole process usually takes around half an hour from start to finish although times may vary depending upon the exact site and size of the lesion.
There is usually minimal discomfort felt during an FNA, comparable to that of giving a blood sample. The needle itself is so fine that there is normally no blood spotting or scarring after the sample has been taken. There may be an initially cool feeling when the gel is applied, but other than that there should be no pain or discomfort caused by the ultrasound. Most people are able to continue with their regular daily activities straight after their procedure.
The results from the Pathologist will generally provide a definitive answer to the composition of the lesion.
No. It is advised, however, that you wear loose fitting clothing for your comfort.
You can have an FNA performed at the following X-RAY & IMAGING practices: Caloundra, Kawana, Chancellor Park, Coolum and Cooroy.
Yes. Ultrasound appointments are often booked several days in advance so it is important to book an appointment as soon as possible.