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Fine Needle Aspiration

(Clinician obtains sample)

  • Synonyms: FNA, needle aspiration, transbronchial needle aspiration, percutaneous needle aspiration. 
  • Performing lab: Cytopathology (N018) Ext: 4-1550 
  • Availability: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday
  • Turnaround time: One to two working days. 
  • Specimen type: Fine needle aspiration (breast, lung, liver, thyroid, pancreas, lymph node, salivary gland, etc.) 
  • Container: Slide folders, 15 mL containers with RPMI (refrigerated) and other smear making materials are provided by the cytopathology laboratory.
  • Volume: 1-20 slide(s)
  • Minimum volume: 1 slide

Special instructions

  • Call the cytopathology laboratory (984-1550) in advance to schedule procedure with pathologist and/or cytotechnologist for slide preparation with or without rapid adequacy evaluation.
  • Wait for pathologist or cytotechnologist to arrive before procuring the aspirate, or the sample may clot within the needle or syringe.
  • Prepare an equal number of air-dried smears and alcohol or spray-fixed smears.
  • Upon completion of making smears, rinse needle in the RPMI provided by the laboratory.

Storage information

  • Refrigeration. (N018 - available 24 hours)

Specimen transport requirements

  • Slides prepared on site must have two identifiers (patient name, MR #, birthdate, etc) and should be sent to the laboratory in a slide folder. Only labeling the slide holder is not acceptable.
  • Fresh cytologic specimens (needle rinse) should be submitted in RPMI and labeled with printed barcoded labels.
  • They should be placed in a biohazard bag and transported with the printed requisition to the Cytology Laboratory, N018,
  • Logged in and placed on the top shelf of the refrigerator

Causes for rejection

  • Inadequate identification
  • Improper fixation
  • Specimen type not identified

More information

  • Complete the Non-Gyn cytology order in EPIC to include pertinent history, prior diagnostic/therapeutic procedures, X-ray, clinical findings and results of prior surgeries and, if possible, a differential diagnosis.
  • Outreach facilities should use the preprinted “University Outreach Pathology Requisition” and submit with the sample.
  • Indicate request for additional special stains or other procedures.
  • Indicate if body fluid precautions are necessary.