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The Diagnostic Cytopathology department provides biomedical scientist (BMS) assistance at fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) clinics to prepare direct spreads and needle rinses.

Please note the BMS staff do not perform the aspirations.

We do provide BMS on site rapid specimen adequacy assessment at Head and Neck clinics, including thyroid, every Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at MFT (ORC) and Wednesday afternoons at Trafford General Hospital. We also provide adequacy at the Ultrasound clinic in Radiology (ORC) on Wednesday mornings.

At the Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the BMS provides FNA assistance and on site specimen adequacy assessment of all types of FNA samples. The staff in the laboratory will be pleased to advise and assist on any aspect of sample collection. Please contact the department at:

  • Cytology Department (ORC site), Monday to Friday between 08:00 hrs and 17:00 hrs on 0161 276 5110/5115/5116. We may also be contacted by bleep on 07623916611
  • Please note calls must be received by 16:15 hrs for FNA attendance.

In the absence of Cytology staff assistance, a guide to performing aspirations and Making spreads from fine needle aspiration is available. Please also see our series of short videos on Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology.

  • Christie hospital – FNA clinics Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 09:00hrs to 12:30hrs and Tuesday 13:00hrs to 16:30hrs


Contact: 0161 446 3643 or 0755-411-6250

It is recommended that the support of a BMS be utilised for optimal sample preparation.

Use of fine needle aspiration

  • Patients presenting with palpable lesions in clinics (ENT, maxillofacial), outpatients and wards.
  • Deep seated lesions sampled by radiologically guided techniques (Ultra Sound, CT)
  • Endoscopic, endobronchial and transbronchial guided specimens

Equipment required for fine needle aspiration

  • Standard disposable 23-25 gauge needles. A 25 gauge (orange) needle is suitable for most lesions
  • Disposable 10 ml plastic syringes
  • Clean container with tight lid (preferably universal) containing CytoRich® Red preservative fluid
  • Standard microscopic glass slides onto which aspirate is to be spread.

(Last reviewed March 2023)