Fine-needle aspiration


The type of biopsy through which a thin needle is inserted into an area of body tissue and analysed in the laboratory to determine whether the tissue is benign or malignant.

It includes testing for diagnosing the status of breast lumps.

Alternative labels

fine-needle aspirations
fine-needle aspiration biopsy
fine-needle aspiration cytology
fine-needle aspiration biopsies

Skill type


Skill reusability level


Relationships with occupations

Essential knowledge

Fine-needle aspiration is an essential knowledge of the following occupations:

Cytology screener: Cytology screeners examine under a microscope samples of human cells obtained from various body parts such as the female reproductive tract, the lung or gastrointestinal tract, assist in identifying cell abnormality and disease such as cancer or infectious agents under supervision, following the orders of the doctor of medicine.The abnormal cells are being transferred to the pathologist for medical diagnosis. They may also work under the supervision of a biomedical scientist. They do not treat patients or assist in medical treatments.


Optional knowledge

Fine-needle aspiration is optional for these occupations. This means knowing this knowledge may be an asset for career advancement if you are in one of these occupations.

Medical laboratory assistant: Medical laboratory assistants work under supervision of the biomedical scientist and carry out basic laboratory procedures. They work in the pre-analytical handling of samples such as checking the details of specimens received for analysis, maintaining analysers, loading reagents, and packaging specimens. They also perform clerical tasks such as monitoring the stock levels of reagents used in analysis.
Scientific laboratory technician: Scientific laboratory technicians carry out laboratory-based research, analysis and testing and support life science professionals. They sample, test, measure, research and analyse in areas such as biology, biotechnology, environmental science, forensic science and pharmacology. Scientific laboratory technicians also observe and monitor laboratory activities, record test sequences and analyse the results.




  1. Fine-needle aspiration – ESCO


Last updated on September 20, 2022