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FNA Service Description

Our cytopathologists are specially trained in Fine-Needle Aspiration (FNA) biopsy and ultrasound-guided FNA.

We offer both palpation-guided FNA and ultrasound-guided FNA of superficial* masses that may be palpable or non-palpable and can be reached through the skin with a 1 ½-inch or 2.5- to 3-centimeter needle (please see any restrictions below). Superficial masses that we are routinely asked to biopsy utilizing FNA include those within the thyroid, subcutaneous tissue, salivary gland, and enlarged lymph nodes.**

The use of ultrasound gives our pathologists the added ability to:

  1. Identify and biopsy non-palpable superficial lesions.
  2. Document precise needle placement and assist in FNA sampling.
  3. Avoid important anatomical structures during needle aspiration.
  4. Help identify cystic lesions and drain them when applicable.

*Superficial anatomical sites are those located above the fascia that can be reached by a 1 ½-inch or 2.5- to 3-centimeter needle. For deeper masses, those that are below the fascia or within a body cavity (e.g., abdomen or thorax), please consult the VCU Department of Radiology.

**For breast biopsies please consult the Department of Radiology Breast Imaging Service.


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