Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology
Fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB, FNA or NAB), or fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC), is a diagnostic procedure used to investigate superficial (just under the skin) lumps or masses. In this technique, a thin, hollow needle is inserted into the mass for a sampling of cells that, after being stained, will be examined under a microscope. There could be a cytology exam of aspirate (cell specimen evaluation, FNAC) or histological (biopsy - tissue specimen evaluation, FNAB). Fine-needle aspiration biopsies are very safe, minor surgical procedures. Often, a major surgical (excisional or open) biopsy can be avoided by performing a needle aspiration biopsy instead. In 1981, the first fine-needle aspiration biopsy in the United States was done at Maimonides Medical Center, eliminating the need for surgery and hospitalization. Today, this procedure is widely used in the diagnosis of cancer and inflammatory conditions.