Painful Transthoracic Needle Biopsy: A Sign of Neurogenic Tumor

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Neurogenic tumors most commonly appear initially as posterior mediastinal masses. These tumors, however, may occur in other intrathoracic locations and present a diagnostic challenge. In such cases transthoracic fine-needle aspiration (FNA) often is used to make a definitive diagnosis. This procedure usually does not result in severe pain. We report two patients who experienced severe pain during transthoracic FNA of neurogenic tumors. We believe that severe pain associated with transthoracic needle biopsy of an intrathoracic mass is suggestive of a neurogenic tumor. When pain accompanies this procedure, a cytopathologist should be notified so that specific immunostaining techniques can be performed to confirm the diagnosis.

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