Modified Fine-Needle Aspiration Technique for Diagnosis of Granulomatous Skin Lesions With Special Reference to Leprosy and Cutaneous Tuberculosis

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Skin infections are commonly assessed by slit skin or scrape methods. Fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) is highly effective especially with blanching of skin to ensure good yield and reduced bleeding. The aim of this study was to assess usefulness of cytology, especially modified FNAB technique, in diagnosis of leprosy and cutaneous tuberculosis and to identify specific cytological characteristics for diagnosis and classification. The study was conducted on 40 patients—25 cases of leprosy and 15 cases of cutaneous tuberculosis. Smears were prepared using modified FNAB technique, slit skin, and scrape methods (depending on type of lesion). Cytological diagnosis was confirmed by histopathology where the Ridley-Jopling system was used to classify cases of leprosy. A similar attempt was made for diagnosis and classification of leprosy on cytology. Diagnoses rendered by both modalities were compared to assess the efficacy of cytological examination. Cytological diagnosis was made in 23 cases of leprosy and 12 cases of cutaneous tuberculosis. The smears showed good cellularity. A broad division into tuberculoid and lepromatous leprosy could be made fairly accurately on cytology. Maximum agreement among clinical, cytological, and histopathological diagnosis was observed in cases of tuberculoid leprosy. Smears of cutaneous tuberculosis were characterized by epithelioid cell granulomas with caseation. Overall accuracy of diagnosis was 92% in leprosy and 80% in tuberculosis. FNAB is an inexpensive and accurate procedure for diagnosis of leprosy and cutaneous tuberculosis. The modified technique yields good results. However, clinical correla tion, acid-fast staining, and culture are essential as they provide valuable supportive information.

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