Accuracy of fine needle aspiration biopsy in head and neck tumors

Franco Fulciniti, Luigi Califano, Aldo Zupi, Antonio Vetrani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) is frequently used in the diagnosis of lesions occurring in the head and neck region. This study evaluated the correlation between the findings on FNAB and the histological findings observed after surgery. Materials and Methods: A review of 218 patients who underwent FNAB of a head or neck tumor was performed. Cytological reports were classified into the following diagnostic categories: negative or positive for malignant cells and unsatisfactory. False-positive, false-negative, true-positive (sensitivity), and true-negative (specificity) rates were calculated. Results: Twelve specimens did not allow an adequate diagnosis (5.5%). Among benign tumors, 96.2% of the cases were correctly diagnosed, and 3.8% were nondiagnostic specimens. Among malignant tumors, 86.4% of cases were correctly identified. There were two (3.4%) false- negatives and six (10.2%) nondiagnostic specimens, with a total false- negative rate of 13.6%. Conclusions: Sampling errors present a minor problem with FNAB. Most nondiagnostic or incorrect specimens were caused by nonhomogenous lesions, with poor placement of the needle and an insufficient amount of aspirated material. FNAB is a useful modality for the diagnosis of head and neck masses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1094-1097
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)
  • Surgery


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