Frequently Asked Questions

What is interventional cytopathology?


Interventional Cytopathology is a professional hybrid and a sub-specialty in pathology where the pathologist who interprets the cytologic smears making a diagnosis also performs the aspiration procedure making sure to obtain adequate samples, with or without ultrasound guidance. It has been repeatedly shown in the literature that better results are obtained when a competent interventional cytopathologist performs the FNA biopsy because the unsatisfactory and non-diagnostic rates are significantly decreased. Since FNA diagnosis is faster, less expensive, and often as accurate as a surgical pathology diagnosis, interventional cytopathologists are visible members of the healthcare team who help make timely clinical decisions in a more cost-conscious fashion, avoiding excessive utilization of resources and inefficient delivery of care.




What is fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy?


FNA is a well-established minimally invasive biopsy procedure during which a small needle is inserted into a mass (lump or nodule) identified either by palpation or by radiological instrument, such as ultrasound. While in the mass, the needle is gently moved back and forth for a few seconds to collect cells from within the mass. After the needle is removed, the cellular material obtained is expelled onto glass slides and smears can be made. The slides are then stained and viewed under a microscope.




What are the indications of FNA biopsy?


Any mass (lump or nodule) should be evaluated clinically to rule out cancer. At the FNA Clinic of PathCare Diagnostics Inc, masses of any superficial organs, such as breast, thyroid, salivary gland, lymph node, or subcutaneous tissue of other sites can be biopsied for such purpose. For a palpable mass, FNA is performed by inserting a needle directly into the mass. If the mass is not obvious on palpation, FNA is then performed by inserting a needle into the mass under real-time ultrasound guidance.




Will FNA biopsy hurt?


Since the needle used is similar if not smaller than that used to draw blood for other laboratory tests, local anesthesia is usually not necessary. The needle does not cause much discomfort, but rather a sting-like feeling with slight pressure. However, if the patient is anxious and sensitive, topical anesthetics can be applied before the procedure.




How soon will FNA biopsy result come out?


A preliminary result is always discussed with the patient after the procedure as to if the mass biopsied is benign, uncertain, suspicious, or cancerous. The final diagnosis is faxed to the referring physician within 24 hours if no further other study is needed.




What are the complications and limitations of FNA biopsy?


FNA biopsy performed by an experienced physician is very safe. Serious complications associated with superficial FNA are rare. Infection and bleeding, although may occur, are uncommon. Most patients do not experience much discomfort after the procedure. However, small hematoma may form and localized tenderness may last for a few hours. There are no restrictions in patients’ routine activities after the procedure. An accurate diagnosis can be made in over 90% of patients by FNA biopsy. However, certain types of masses, which, although they may be palpated or seen by ultrasound, contain very few cells to aspirate or the cells may be difficult to interpret. Fortunately, these instances are few (less than 5%). Since only a small sample is obtained, therefore it may not be representative of the entire mass, especially for the larger ones. Multiple samples from different regions of the mass will improve the accuracy.




What do patients say about their experiences at our FNA clinic?


"Dear Dr. Gu, Thank you so much for finding the abnormal (cancerous) cells in my thyroid. I had my thyroid removed. I am so pleased to have it done and over. You are the greatest!" "Hi Dr.Gu, thank you so much for accommodating my wife's procedure the same day . We really appreciate it very much and she is doing fine . And good news you told us even makes it better." "Thank you for the excellent care and attention you and your staff gave us. Your taking time to explain what was going to happen, as well as what to expect, made a scary experience a bearable one. Thank you for putting us at ease and giving us as many facts and information as possible, professional but personal. Thank you. My doctor had nothing but the nicest things to say about you and your staff - now we see why." "Dr. Gu is very patient and gentle. My thyroid biopsy was over in less than 20 seconds and I barely felt anything. Not only was it quick and painless but you also get your results just minutes later. If you get anxious about needles or having to wait for results, this is the place to go." "Dr. Gu did two needle biopsies on my thyroid. She was very gentle and kind and explained every step as she went. I barely felt anything and it was all over in a matter of minutes. After the procedure, she looked at the cells and came back in about 10 minutes with my results (good news for me). Her staff was friendly, helpful and efficient. I highly recommend Dr. Gu." "Dr. Gu is so kind and considerate- she is quiet and confidence-inspiring... very gentle and skillful. I had two small-needle samples taken, and four large-needle samples taken. There was very little discomfort, and that was only from the underarm area which is extra-sensitive to begin with. I highly recommend her." "Excellent! She is truly a gift to our community." "I HAVE REFERRED MANY PEOPLE TO DR GU AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO. SHE IS AMAZING !! MY BIOPSY WITH FINE NEEDLE WAS PAINLESS. I HAVE SEEN HER TWICE FOR MY CANCER PROBLEM AND NOW THANKS TO HER I AM CANCER FREE. NEVER GIVE UP . I HAVE BEEN BLESSED TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE HER DO MY BIOPSY!!" "The experience I had today in my visit to Dr Mai Gu is worthy of more than five stars. She is kind, patient with my multiple questions, and expertly performed the needle aspiration biopsy I had today. What I expected to be a painful procedure was painless. Awesome! Thank you. I would highly recommend her to any and all in need of this procedure." "Dr. Gu is the best. I have had several thyroid biopsies (FNA) all of which left my neck sore. She has a gentle touch, she's compassionate and I will be forever grateful for her expertise." "Dr. Gu not only stayed an hour after business hours to do my thyroid biopsy but she was also so gentle and quick. I was also able to get my results immediately which was nice." "Great bedside manner. Gave a thorough explanation of the procedure and what to expect during each stage. Dr. Gu is kind and compassionate. She made me feel comfortable before, during and after my procedure."




Where is our FNA clinic located and do I make an appointment?


If you discover a palpable mass anywhere in your body or if you are referred to us by your treating physician to evaluate a palpable or non-palpable mass, please call us to make an appointment at 951- 808-8863. There are three locations of the FNA Clinic of PathCare Diagnostics Inc: 1810 Fullerton Avenue, Suite 102, Corona, CA 92881 41667 Ivy Street, Suite G, Murrieta, CA 92562 17451 Bastanchury Road, Suite 104C, Yorba Linda, CA 92886




Is the diagnosis of FNA biopsy accurate?


At the FNA Clinic of PathCare Diagnostics Inc, FNA biopsy is performed by our experienced board certified cytopathologist who incorporates the clinical history, physical examination, ultrasound features, and other available radiographic studies if done with the microscopic findings so that an accurate diagnosis can be reached. The diagnostic accuracy, in this practice setting, is 95-98%, compatible with that of surgical biopsy (98%).