Purpose: To evaluate the role of image-guided fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) of deep-seated lymph nodes.
Material and Methods: Image-guided FNACs were performed on 242 patients of deep-seated lymph nodes which included thoracic, retroperitoneal and abdominal nodes. A sterile 3.5/5-MHz micro convex sector probe was used for localisation of the node. The FNAC was performed using a 0.7- to 0.9-mm needle with the stylet removed and attached to a 20-ml syringe and FNAC handle after the needle was visualised in the lesion. For each case a minimum of 4–5 smears were made, and two observers without bias interpreted the smears.
Results: A total of 242 patients were aspirated, of which 216 (90%) aspirations were US-guided and the remaining 26 (10%) were CT-guided. Adequate material for cytologic diagnosis was obtained in 208 (86%) patients with a similar diagnostic accuracy. The aspirate material was non-representative or scanty in 34 (14%) patients. The most common cytological diagnosis was tuberculosis/consistent with tuberculosis seen in 108 (45%) patients followed by metastasis (17%) and reactive hyperplasia (10%). Non-Hodgkin lymphoma was diagnosed in 22 (9%) patients. All patients were briefly followed for a period of 1 1/2 to 2 years (mean 1 year).
Conclusion: Image-guided FNAC has a pivotal role, and is a cost-effective tool for establishing tissue diagnosis as a primary investigative modality. It is also helpful and accurate in follow-up of patients with a known malignant disease, thereby avoiding surgical intervention.