Basic technique in endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration for solid lesions: How many passes?

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Endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) has evolved to become an indispensable tool for tissue acquisition in patients with luminal and extra luminal gastrointestinal cancers. Despite the extensive use of EUS-FNA, there still exists a wide variation in the number of samples required to ensure acquisition of diagnostic material from different kind of lesions. There are several factors that may influence the number of fine needle passes made during EUS-FNA, but the main factor seems to be the presence of a Cytopathologist during the EUS procedure. The diagnostic yield of EUS-FNA with rapid on-site evaluation (ROSE) in most studies exceeds 90%. Nevertheless, ROSE is not available in many centers. Various studies have investigated the adequate number of needle passes that should be performed if ROSE is not used. Differences exist based on the nature of the target lesion: Five to seven passes for pancreatic masses, three passes for lymphnodes, only one pass for pancreatic cystic lesions. Consider using a core biopsy needle or a 19-G FNA needle for histology could improve the diagnostic yield. Even though EUS-FNA is widely available, some patients still do not receive conclusive diagnoses upon initial EUS-FNA. One way to maximize the benefits for patients might be to centralize cases to several well-equipped, high-volume centers with experienced endosonographers that have universal availability of ROSE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-27
Number of pages6
JournalEndoscopic Ultrasound
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Endoscopic ultrasound
  • Fine needle aspiration
  • Needle passes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology
  • Hepatology


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