Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsies (FNA)

Dear Colleagues,

During COVID response Level 3 and 4 Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsies (FNA) were restricted to cases to confirm malignancy. Under Level 2 we will now also accept FNA referrals for patients in whom ruling out malignancy is required.

From Wednesday May 20th, FNA is available for patients to confirm / rule out malignancy. Example: Thyroid nodules, salivary gland nodules, and abnormal lymph nodes in adults.  
As per HealthPathways guidelines FNA is not indicated for the following: Acute lymphadenopathy, lymph nodes smaller than 10 mm, stable long term lymphadenopathy, gynecomastia, epidermoid cysts of the skin, stable lipomas, skin lesions and pretibial thickenings. 
At times patients with the following normal structures have been inappropriately referred for FNA: prominent hyoid bone, ectatic carotid artery, cervical rib asymmetrical submandibular salivary gland. 
If you are unsure if a patient should be referred for FNA please call 03 360 0870 for Pathologist advice.
FNA of breast lumps will only be performed following imaging (mammogram and/or ultrasound).
To arrange an FNA please email a laboratory request form to
Please include full clinical details and contact details of the patient.  All FNA requests will be triaged by a pathologist and the patient will be contacted to arrange an FNA appointment.

Kind regards,

Dr David Roche
Anatomic Pathologist
Canterbury SCL