Correlation of fine needle aspiration cytology and histopathology of neck swellings

C. S. Asha, B. R. Suchit Roy


Background: Neck swellings are a common clinical finding affecting all age groups. FNAC is a minimally invasive procedure helpful in the diagnosis of various neck swellings. The purpose of this study is to determine the accuracy of FNAC in the diagnosis of neck swellings by comparing it with the histopathology which is taken as the gold standard.

Methods: A prospective study which included 90 patients who attended ENT and surgery departments of Government Medical College, Trivandrum with neck swellings from July 2006-2007. FNAC of the swelling was done and the FNAC results were compared with the histopathology results. The specificity, sensitivity, positive and negative predictive values and accuracy of FNAC were calculated.  

Results: Of the 90 patients, thyroid swelling formed the major group followed by lymph node, salivary gland and miscellaneous swellings. Thyroid swellings had a female predominance while the other three groups namely lymph node, salivary gland and miscellaneous groups showed a male preponderance. When the neck swellings namely thyroid, salivary gland, lymph node and miscellaneous group were taken into consideration as a whole, the sensitivity of FNAC for detecting malignancy was 64.3%. The specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value and accuracy were 97.4%, 81.8%, 93.7% and 92% respectively.

Conclusions: FNAC can be rated as a safe, simple, reliable, cost effective and rapid diagnostic tool with high specificity and sensitivity for the initial evaluation of neck swellings.


FNAC, Histopathology, Specificity, Sensitivity, Accuracy

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