Finding a lump or bump in an area like the thyroid gland or breast is certainly a matter for concern. Once discovered, the paramount issue is to identify any abnormal tissue and make a diagnosis so treatment can be initiated as soon as possible. A board certified cytopathologist like Dr. Celina Nadelman is an excellent choice for a biopsy doctor Los Angeles. The diagnosis may be made using fine needle aspiration, a core biopsy or a surgical biopsy, often in combination with ultrasound or guided imaging to pinpoint a lesion’s location.
Fine Needle Aspiration
A fine needle aspiration, or FNA, is an office procedure. The cytopathologist inserts a small, fine needle into the lesion and removes fluid and cells with suction. The specimens can be examined immediately under a microscope, which means diagnosis is quick. Results are usually available within 24 hours. No downtime is required for the procedure and it is usually less expensive than other diagnostic procedures.
A core biopsy is similar to an FNA. The primary difference is that the needle used is slightly larger and hollow, so the doctor can punch out a piece of tissue for microscopic examination. Like the FNA, a core biopsy can often be performed in a doctor’s office and requires only a local anesthetic. Downtime is minimal and the specimen can often be examined the same day.
As the term implies, a surgical biopsy involves a minor procedure in which doctor cuts into the lesion or mass. A surgical biopsy may remove all or part of a lesion. Local anesthetic and sedation are most commonly used, but sometimes a procedure requires a general anesthetic. This diagnostic procedure is more complex, may cause bleeding or bruising and does require patient downtime.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Each of these diagnostic procedures is slightly different. The FNA and core biopsy can be done in a doctor’s office, while a surgical biopsy is more likely to be performed in an outpatient surgery center. Surgical biopsies are more expensive and require some downtime. However, the surgical biopsy is the most accurate of the three procedures and allows the doctor to see how large the lesion is. In some cases – called excisional biopsy – the entire lesion can be removed during the biopsy process.
It is very common for doctors to use more than one diagnostic procedure. For example, an FNA or core biopsy may be followed by a surgical biopsy. A biopsy doctor Los Angeles or board certified cytopathologist like Dr. Nadelman may also use ultrasound, X-rays such as mammograms and other imaging techniques to ensure an accurate diagnosis. The key is to make a quick diagnosis and initiate necessary treatment promptly.