Rhode Island Hospital
Providence, RI 02903
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The Miriam Hospital
164 Summit Avenue
Providence, RI 02906
In a fine needle aspiration biopsy, a small amount of cells and/or fluid are drawn from a lump in the breast with a very thin needle-smaller than those used to draw blood. It is the least invasive type of biopsy, and can be done in your doctor's office or as an outpatient procedure.
A fine needle aspiration biospy is used to determine if a previously identified lump is cancerous. It's also used to distinguish between a solid growth and a cyst (a liquid-filled sac). If the the lump drains and disappears after the aspiration is performed, it typically means that the lump was a cyst and not cancer. However, if fluid cannot be drawn you may need further evaluation or a different type of biospy to determine if the lump is cancerous.
The area on your breast will be sterilized with rubbing alcohol or iodine. Typically, an injection of local anesthetic is given to numb the area where the needle will be inserted. Your doctor will guide the needle while feeling the lump by hand. Your doctor may move the needle in and out of the area to get enough tissue or fluid, which is collected in an attached syringe, for examination. The procedure typically takes a few minutes.