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Atlas of breast cancer early detection

Breast pathology – Cytopathology of the breast – Fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) procedure – Aspiration


  1. Immobilize the lump with two fingers. In order to collect an adequate sample, the lump should not move with the needle. Large lumps (> 3 cm) can be held in place with the thumb and forefinger; smaller lumps can be more effectively immobilized between the forefinger and the middle finger. Without moving the fingers, cleanse the skin with alcohol swab before aspiration.
  2. When the target has been secured, pick up the pre-assembled needle and syringe and insert the needle tip into the target.
  3. Pull back the plunger to create suction and hold the needle steady throughout the sampling procedure.
  4. Move the needle backwards and forwards inside the lesion 10–20 times.
  5. Release suction by letting go of the plunger.
  6. Withdraw the needle.
  7. Remove the needle from the syringe.
  8. Fill the syringe with air by pulling the plunger back as far as it will go.
  9. Reattach the needle.
  10. Expel the harvest on a clean slide by swiftly pushing the plunger through the syringe. The needle tip should be in contact with the glass to avoid splatter.
The next step is to prepare the smears on the glass slides.


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