Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy (FNA)

Fine needle aspiration biopsies may be performed in two settings:

  • They may be performed in the physician’s office; the slides are then sent to Calpath for processing and interpretation, or…
  • The patient can be sent to the Good Samaritan Hospital Lab, and the FNA will be performed by one of our pathologists.

Collection of FNA specimen in the physician’s office.

  1. Prepare for the FNA by laying out a set of clean glass slides. Place the alcohol fixative close at hand to facilitate prompt fixation.
  2. The material that is collected in the needle and needle hub should be expelled and placed near the label end of the glass slide. Only one or two drops of material should be placed on each slide. (Excessive amounts of material on the slide will result in thick smears that are difficult to interpret).
  3. The material should be smeared evenly and gently with the use of a second glass slide held at right angles to the first slide. Do not apply any pressure when making the smear because this will cause mechanical distortion of the cells.
  4. There is an advantage in submitting both alcohol fixed slides and air dried slides. About half the slides should be promptly fixed in alcohol, and the other half should be air-dried. It is essential that slides destined for alcohol fixation be placed in alcohol within 5 seconds of preparing the smear.
  5. Label all the slides with the patient’s name.
  6. Indicate on each slide whether the material has been fixed in alcohol (write “fixed”) or air dried (write “air”) because this determines how the slides are stained.
  7. Place the slides in cardboard or plastic slide holders and secure with tape to prevent breakage.
  8. Complete the Calpath cytology requisition form per the instructions.

After collecting the specimen, please do the following:

  • Place the specimen in the Calpath specimen bag.
  • Place the requisition form in the side slot of the Calpath specimen bag.
  • Call Calpath for a pickup or place the Calpath specimen bag in the location where our courier usually picks up your daily specimens.

Scheduling FNAs at Good Samaritan Hospital Lab

  1. Call GSH Lab (408-559-2474) and request an appointment for an FNA.
  2. Be prepared to provide GSH Lab with the following information: the patient’s name, date of birth, social security number, desired date for the procedure, anatomic site to be aspirated, name of clinician ordering the test, and patient’s insurance information.
  3. The GSH Lab staff will provide you with an appointment time as well as directions to the lab.
  4. Ask your patient to arrive at the GSH Lab 15 minutes before the appointed time.
  5. A written report will be issued within 24-48 hours in the majority of cases. The pathologist will call the results to the ordering physician in selected situations.