Pathology

About Us

The Division of Anatomic Pathology provides a full range of surgical pathology and cytopathology services. Utilizing the latest technology available, including immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry, molecular analysis, and electron microscopy, our highly experienced pathologists provide expert diagnostic services in all subspecialty areas of surgical pathology and cytopathology. Our cytopathologists are available, by appointment, to perform fine needle aspirations, in our clinic located in the University hospital. The Cytopathology Service utilizes both the standard and ThinPrep methods for Pap smear examination. Postmortem examinations are available for patients admitted to the University hospital and can be arranged for patients cared for outside of the hospital.

Clinical Pathology Division

The clinical laboratories in the University hospital, directed by the Division of Clinical Pathology, provide a comprehensive menu of clinical laboratory testing and services, from routine tests to the most esoteric and specialized assays. Our subspecialist clinical pathologists are available around-the-clock to provide consultation regarding selection and interpretation of laboratory tests and transfusion of blood products. Flow cytometry and molecular diagnostic services are available on-site in our laboratories.

Fine Needle Aspiration

Fine Needle Aspiration is a procedure performed by the physician using a very thin needle (usually a 25 or 23 gauge), which is smaller than the one used to draw blood.  The mass or lump to be aspirated is palpated and immobilized.  The needle is then inserted into the mass and cells are extracted.  The material is then expelled onto a glass slide, and into a special solution for additional smears to be prepared.  The needle remains in the mass for about 5 seconds during each needle stick.

The size of the mass determines the number of needle sticks necessary.  The lesion is usually aspirated three times to obtain both a representative and an adequate sample.  There is no need for anesthesia.  The procedure is usually well tolerated, although there may be minor discomfort, which varies from patient to patient.

How do I schedule an appointment?

Appointments may be scheduled by calling (202) 715-4665 Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.   Please note that only palpable lesions are aspirated in our Clinic.  Nonpalpable lesions are aspirated by the radiologists.  If you are unable to keep your appointment, please notify us at least 24 hours in advance (202) 715-4665.

Do I have to preregister?

Yes.  After your appointment has been scheduled, you need to preregister.  You can preregister by phone or on line. To preregister by phone, call (202) 715-4907  (press option #3) Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Preregistration should be done at least 2 days prior to the day of your appointment.

To preregister on line, link to the hospital website here, George Washington Univerity Hospital.

Where do I report for my Fine Needle Aspiration procedure?

On the morning of your appointment come to the George Washington University Hospital.  The building address is 900 Twenty-third Street, N.W.  Enter the hospital using the main entrance on 23rd Street and check at the Concierge Desk in the Lobby.  You will be directed to "Admitting" where you need to sign in.  Once your paperwork is complete you will be directed to the Fine Needle Aspiration Clinic, located in the Preadmission Testing Unit, First floor, Room 11028.

What time do I have to be there?

If you are pre-registered, plan to arrive to the Hospital at least 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment, to sign consent forms and verify insurance information.

How long will the FNA procedure last?

The procedure lasts approximately 30-45 minutes.  Occasionally, additional time is necessary.  You should expect to be in the hospital for a total of 1 to 1 ½ hours.  Please allow yourself the extra time if you are expected to return to work after the procedure or if you are using meter parking.

Are there any restrictions before the FNA procedure?

You may eat and drink as usual.  If you have taken aspirin within the last 5 days, or any blood thinner, please inform the cytopathologist.  Extra caution may be necessary to avoid bleeding.

Are there any restrictions after the FNA procedure?

You may resume you normal activities after the procedure.

When will the result be available?

Results are usually available within 24 to 48 hours after the procedure.   You should obtain your results from your referring physician. 

Insurance coverage varies from policy to policy.  Read your policy carefully or contact your insurance company's representative to determine which services are covered. You will be responsible for any services your insurance company does not cover or pay.  Our Admitting personnel may also help answer your questions. Please bring your insurance card with you the day of your appointment.

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