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Ear Nose Throat J. 1999 Dec;78(12):905, 908-12.

Clinical impact of sonographically guided biopsy of salivary gland masses and surrounding lymph nodes.

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Division of Diagnostic Ultrasound, Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.


Although fine-needle aspiration biopsy of salivary gland masses has been reported in the otolaryngology literature, the use of sonography to guide the biopsy of nonpalpable masses and masses seen on other cross-sectional imaging studies has not been described. Our goal was to evaluate sonographically guided biopsy of masses and lymph nodes related to the salivary glands. We analyzed the records of 18 patients who had undergone fine-needle aspiration biopsy of a salivary gland mass or lymph node with a 25-, 22-, or 20-gauge needle. A definitive cytologic diagnosis was made for 13 of the 18 patients (72%); cytology was suggestive but not definitive in three patients (17%) and insufficient in two (11%). Definitive diagnoses were made in three cases of reactive lymph node, in two cases each of lymph node metastasis and Warthin's tumor, and in one case each of pleomorphic adenoma, adenoid-cystic carcinoma, schwannoma-neurofibroma, parotid metastasis, parotid lymphoma, and Sjögren's-related lymphoid-epithelial lesion. Sonographically guided biopsy allows for confident needle placement in masses seen on computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. Sonography can usually distinguish a perisalivary lymph node from true intrasalivary masses, and it can help the surgeon avoid the pitfall of a nondiagnostic aspiration of the cystic component of masses. We conclude that sonographically guided biopsy of salivary gland masses can provide a tissue diagnosis that can have a direct impact on clinical decision making.

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