Endovascular WA uses a minimally invasive diagnostic procedure called fine needle aspiration (FNA) to investigate superficial (just under the skin) lumps or masses. In this technique, a thin hollow needle is inserted into the mass to extract fragmented cells that will be examined under a microscope.

The advantage of an FNA is that it is slightly less invasive than a biopsy. A disadvantage however, may be since the tissue sampled is small, it is possible that the specimen obtained is not sufficient for a confident diagnosis to be made. The procedure may then need to be repeated or  “upgraded” to a biopsy.

A biopsy involves the use of a larger needle which removes a solid block of tissue and is therefore slightly more invasive, though usually feels no different from an FNA as adequate local anaesthesia is used in both procedures. Since a sample of solid tissue is removed – unlike the FNA – the specimen is excellent and typically is sufficient enough so that a confident and definitive diagnosis is made.

As with any surgical procedure, complications are possible. A needle aspiration biopsy is safer and less traumatic than an open surgical biopsy, and significant complications are usually rare, depending on the body site. Common complications include bruising and soreness.

patient preparation

  • Blood thinning medications that you are currently taking should be ceased prior to any biopsy or FNA
    (Aspirin and Warfarin for 5 days, Plavix for 7 days and Iscover for 8 days).
  • Fasting is generally not required, unless otherwise specified.
  • Endovascular WA recommends that patients bring a responsible person to drive them home afterwards.
  • If patients have had a heart valve replacement, it may be necessary to take antibiotics before the procedure. Please discuss this with your cardiologist/cardiac surgeon and take antibiotics as directed.
  • If you have any other queries relating to your particular condition and intended procedure, please contact Endovascular WA to discuss further.

fine needle aspirations’ procedure

Before the procedure is started, vital signs (pulse, blood pressure, temperature, etc.) may be taken. An FNA or biopsy is a safe procedure that will require the injection of local anaesthetic to numb the relevant area. At EndovascularWA, state-of-the-art ultrasound equipment is used to guide our interventional radiologist in locating the exact tissue requiring study. The procedure is conducted in a lying position and often more than one sample may be taken. Intravenous sedation or pain relief is usually not required as local anaesthesia is in most instances sufficient.

The duration of the fine needle aspiration depends upon the number of samples required. A biopsy of soft tissues and muscles usually takes no more than five minutes. Some procedures may be technically more complex, in which case, the time taken naturally may be longer. Endovasculars Patient Care team will indicate the amount of time it usually takes upon booking your appointment. Patients will also need to allow for time to arrive to the clinic, register and also following the procedure to be observed for a short time after the biopsy.

Patients undergoing a biopsy are asked to avoid strenuous exercise following the procedure. Expect some minimal swelling and tenderness which rarely may require some paracetamol for pain (not aspirin). If you experience significant pain, redness or bleeding, please contact our clinic immediately.


The results of the FNA/biopsy are dependant on the time its takes for the Pathologist to review and thoroughly test all the tissue under a microscope. Usually, the results are available within two to four days and should be discussed with your referring doctor at a follow-up appointment.

  • Please ensure that you make a follow up appointment with your referring doctor or health care provider to discuss your results.