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Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy (FNA)

Fine needle aspiration biopsy is a minimally invasive procedure, which allows the radiologist or doctor to obtain some cells from a lesion already identified in the breast. These cells are analysed by a cytopathologist to assess whether there is any breast cancer present.


  • Some FNA biopsies are performed without imaging the breast. A cytopathologist or surgeon performs these biopsies using manual palpation of a clinical abnormality as a guideline to perform the procedure. This type of FNA procedure is not done at Women’s & Breast Imaging.
  • At Women’s & Breast Imaging we use ultrasound, and sometimes mammography to perform an image guided fine needle aspiration biopsy of lesions that have been detected either on a mammogram or ultrasound examination.
  • Using ultrasound or mammogram (stereotactic) guidance, a small amount of fluid is obtained from the lesion using the tip of a fine guage needle. The fluid is deposited on glass microscope slides for evaluation by a cytopathologist.
  • In Western Australia we are very fortunate in having a number of highly skilled cytopathologists to evaluate this material.


The FNA biopsy will take approximately 30 minutes.

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