Needle Aspiration

Norm of Needle Aspiration

Nonmalignant, or negative.


Usage of Needle Aspiration

Essential to diagnosing malignancies and benign growths. Also used to evaluate tissue for reaction to hormones; these results assist in selecting appropriate therapy for cancer.


Description of Needle Aspiration

Surgical procedure in which a sample of body tissue or fluid is removed transcutaneously through a needle and then examined microscopically for abnormal cells or tested in a hormone receptor assay. This procedure can be performed on an ambulatory surgery basis under local anesthesia and can help prevent unnecessary surgery.


Professional Considerations of Needle Aspiration

Consent form IS required.

Infection at needle aspiration site.
Previous allergy to local anesthetic. Cutaneous infection at site, platelet count of less than 100,000/mm3, prothrombin time longer than 15 seconds.



  1. Obtain 1%–2% lidocaine (Xylocaine) for local anesthesia, a cutting needle, a sterile cup with normal saline, and a heparinized tube.
  2. Just before beginning the procedure, take a “time out” to verify the correct client, procedure, and site.



  1. Position the client supine.
  2. Under local anesthesia, a cutting needle (such as a Cope's needle or Vim-Silverman needle) is inserted into the suspected area, and a core of tissue is removed and placed into normal saline, or fluid is aspirated and placed into a heparinized tube.


Postprocedure Care

  1. Apply a dry, sterile dressing to the site.
  2. Label the specimens and transport them to the laboratory promptly.
  3. Assess vital signs every 15 minutes × 2.
  4. Monitor the site every 2 hours × 3 for bleeding, inflammation, or drainage.
  5. Results are normally available in 48–72 hours.


Client and Family Teaching

  1. Monitor for drainage and inflammation for 24–48 hours.
  2. A mild analgesic may be required for pain control.
  3. Call the physician for signs of infection at the procedure site: increasing pain, redness, swelling, purulent drainage, or for temperature >101 degrees F (38.3 degrees C).


Factors That Affect Results

  1. Failure to obtain adequate sample(s) or a sample from a nonsuspect site or to properly prepare the smear can result in a false-negative finding.


Other Data

  1. Permanent microscopic sections are preferred to frozen sections because permanent sections have more clarity.
  2. A negative result does not always exclude the diagnosis of cancer.