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Making spreads from fine needle aspiration

The ideal FNA sample is prepared as follows:

  • Even monolayer spreads onto glass slides for air-dried 'direct smears'
  • Needle to be rinsed in CytoRich Red preservative fluid (if available) or sterile saline
  • Two passes are recommended for each case
  • If Tuberculosis is suspected, please also send an aspirate to microbiology in a sterile container
Step 1: Having expelled a small drop of the aspirate onto a glass slide, place a clean slide (spreader) above the drop and spread gently but swiftly. Leave to air dry. FNA spread 1
Step 2: Rinse the remaining material from the needle into the CytoRich Red preservative fluid by repeated aspiration and expelling of the said CytoRich Red preservative fluid FNA spread 2
Step 3: Label container containing CytoRich Red preservative fluid according to specimen acceptance policy and use a pencil to label slide FNA spread 3
Step 4: Complete request form, package sample and send to Cytology Department, Clinical Sciences Building 2 FNA spread 4

(Last reviewed 27th February 2018)