"I am one of five boys. All of my brothers had been shot, one of them six times. I was the only one who hadn't been. Guess I was waiting my turn," says Eric Gibson, a former South Central L.A. gang member who was recruited for thuggery and drug dealing at 13.
In 1993, at age 25, his turn arrived in the form of a drive-by shooting that sprayed five bullets from a .357 Magnum into his body, leaving him bound to a wheelchair forever. "It was the best thing that ever happened to me," he says now. "I...
Fine needle aspiration is generally considered a safe procedure. Complications are infrequent.
Fine Needle Aspiration: When It's Used
A fine needle aspiration is most often done on swellings or lumps located just under the skin.
A lump may be felt during a doctor's examination. Or it may be discovered on an imaging test such as:
Imaging tests may also discover abnormal spots deeper inside the body.
Doctors may recommend fine needle aspiration for areas such as:
cysts (fluid-filled lumps)
nodules or masses (solid lumps)
enlarged lymph nodes
Without a biopsy, it's usually hard for a doctor to confirm what these abnormal areas contain. And you may not know if they are a threat to your health.
The most common reason to get a fine needle aspiration is to test for cancer.
Most fine needle aspirations are done on these areas:
lymph nodes in the neck, groin, or armpit
Those types of fine needle aspirations are performed through the skin.
Using endoscopy, doctors can also reach areas deeper in the body. An endoscopy uses a flexible tube with a light and camera attached. During an endoscopy, a doctor can do a fine needle aspiration on certain abnormal spots in the chest or abdomen.
What to Expect Before Fine Needle Aspiration
There is no one standard preparation before fine needle aspiration. You may be asked to take these preparations:
Changes in medicines. Several days before the test, stop taking aspirin or other blood thinners. These include Plavix (clopidogrel) or brand-name versions of the generic drug warfarin. The brand names of warfarin are:
Changes in diet. Do not eat or drink anything for several hours before the procedure.
If you will be getting sedating medication, be sure to bring someone with you to drive you home.