FNAC Test – When It is Done and How?

Needle Biopsy or FNAC Test is an effective tool to evaluate and diagnose susceptible lumps or masses. The procedure is invasive in nature and easy to perform. Before performing the test, one must have a clear understanding of what it is, when is the test done, how it is performed and more!


Fine needle aspiration cytology or FNAC test is a diagnostic procedure where a needle is inserted into the body and a small amount of tissue is sucked out for examination under a microscope. The test is performed when a suspicious lump is found, such as lymph in the breast or enlarged lymph node. The test is also performed if any abnormality is detected on an imaging x-ray during ultrasound or mammography screening. Fnac test cost is not expensive, less painful and is a quicker method of tissue sampling.

When is the test done?

 FNAC test is ordered by the doctors when a lump is discovered during the examination and he/she wants to determine the nature of the lump. Earlier in this situation, one needs to rush to the hospital for a surgical procedure which is painful, causes scarring and involves more complications. The process also involves a longer period of anxiety while waiting for the results.

How is it performed?

At first, the doctor asks some questions regarding the lump such as where it is, how and when one has become aware of it, any noticeable changes or not, and more. After all the question and answer session and understanding the history, the main process begins.

The doctor uses the sample of the lump using only a thin small needle that might or might not leave a small mark.

The lump is held by the doctor with hand and the sample is taken with a small needle with the help of needle holder. Two-three samples are required from the lump in order to get an accurate result. The sample is placed under a microscope and the test process is performed for more than 20-40 seconds.

How long the process takes?

Each sample taken for examination takes only 10 seconds. The whole procedure usually takes not more than 10- 15 minutes.

When are the results available?

Generally, the results are available within 3 to 4 working days. The results are grouped into three categories:

  • Clearly Benign- Not cancer.
  • Clear Malignant- Cancer.
  • No- definitive or less clear- mostly this is followed by a surgical biopsy.

What are the advantages of FNAC test

FNAC test provides the following benefits:

  • In this process, no anesthesia is required.
  • This process doesn’t involve hospitalization.
  • The test is non-invasive in nature and is easy to perform.
  • FNAC test cost is economical.
  • Any type of cysts or lumps can be aspirated and diagnosed easily with this procedure.
  • This test can relieve both anxiety and uncertainty in patients as well as in doctors by making an accurate diagnosis pre-operatively.

How reliable is the FNAC Test?

If a skilled FNAC practitioner is performing the test, then the FNAC test is a highly reliable procedure. If the problem is recognized at an early stage then performing an FNAC TEST may prevent one from undergoing a painful surgical procedure. Along with detecting cancers, the test is also carried out to diagnose thyroid and tuberculosis.

What are the possible complications?

It is minimal or no side effect of the FNAC test provided the test is performed by an experienced practitioner. The process is virtually free from significant complications!

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