Fine-Needle Aspiration Cytology of Salivary Glands: Diagnostic Pitfalls—Revisited

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Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) of salivary gland lesions is a safe, effective diagnostic technique. Several amply illustrated reviews are available in the English literature. The reported diagnostic accuracy varies between 86% to 98%. The sensitivity ranges from 62% to 97.6% and specificity is higher from 94.3% to 100%. In this present study, we have analyzed 172 cases of salivary gland aspirates and the histopathological diagnosis was available in 45 cases. There was discordance in cytological and histopathological diagnosis in nine cases. Five cases had discrepancies in benign versus malignant diagnosis with four cases being false negative. The errors in these FNA diagnoses were due to sampling error, observational error and interpretational error. Therefore, this study illustrates high diagnostic accuracy of FNAC in salivary gland lesions and shows that FNAC offers valuable information that allows the planning of subsequent patient management.

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