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Radiology. 2011 May;259(2):471-8. doi: 10.1148/radiol.11101087. Epub 2011 Mar 1.

US-guided fine-needle aspiration of major salivary gland masses and adjacent lymph nodes: accuracy and impact on clinical decision making.

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Department of Radiology, Keck School of Medicine of USC, 1500 San Pablo St, Second Floor Imaging, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA.



To determine whether ultrasonography (US)-guided fine-needle aspiration (FNA) is an effective technique for diagnosing masses in the salivary gland and adjacent lymph nodes.


The institutional review board waived the requirement to obtain informed consent and approved this HIPAA-compliant retrospective study. Radiology records of 50 patients (28 female patients aged 25-85 years [median age, 58 years], 22 male patients aged 11-82 years [median age, 62 years]) who underwent 52 consecutive US-guided FNA procedures from 2004 to 2009 were reviewed. In 46 cases, lesions were sampled for biopsy under real-time US guidance by means of three passes with a 25-gauge needle. In six cases, two subsequent passes were performed with a 22-gauge needle after the first pass showed minimal or no aspirate. Findings from cytopathologic analysis, clinical follow-up, and surgery were evaluated and compared.


A diagnostically adequate biopsy specimen was obtained in 48 of the 52 cases (92%). Among the 20 patients who underwent surgical intervention after diagnostic US-guided FNA findings, results of surgical-pathologic analysis helped confirm the cytologic diagnosis in 19 (95%). Twenty of the 50 patients (40%) were spared surgical intervention on the basis of findings from US-guided FNA. US-guided FNA did not result in any intra- or postprocedural complications.


The diagnostic accuracy of US-guided FNA is similar to that of core needle biopsy, and there were no complications in this study. Information yielded with FNA cytology plays an integral role in clinical decision making in the management of masses in the major salivary glands and adjacent structures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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