Ultrasound-guided needle aspiration: Impact of immediate cytologic review

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2010

Publication Title


First Page


Last Page





Objectives/Hypothesis: To compare the diagnostic adequacy of ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration biopsy (USFNA) of the head and neck with immediate on-site microscopic evaluation and feedback by a cytopathologist (IMMEDIATE) versus delayed examination without immediate feedback (DELAYED). Study Design: Retrospective chart review of office-based USFNA performed in both IMMEDIATE and DELAYED settings by the same otolaryngologist. Methods: A total of 199 USFNA procedures in the head and neck were performed by one practitioner. Of these procedures, 137 biopsies were performed in the DELAYED setting, whereas 62 biopsies were performed in the IMMEDIATE setting. Cytopathology reports were reviewed for diagnostic conclusions as well as adequacy of biopsies. The results from both settings were compared using Pearson v2 test. Results: The ability to obtain a diagnosis from USFNA was 73.0% in the DELAYED group as compared with 90.3% in the IMMEDIATE group. The rate of adequate cells on biopsy was 89.1% in the DELAYED group as compared with 96.8% in the IMMEDIATE group. There was a statistically significant difference between observed and expected diagnostic rates (v2 [1] ¼ 7.568, P ¼.006) and a trend toward a significant difference between the observed and expected adequacy rates (v2 [1] ¼ 3.259, P ¼ .071) when IMMEDIATE evaluation by a cytopathologist was performed. Conclusions: An immediate microscopic evaluation of USFNA specimens to confirm adequacy of sampling is strongly recommended. Diagnostic conclusions were increased when an evaluation of the specimen