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The role of fine needle aspiration in pediatric head and neck masses: does the yield justify the pain?




The aim of our study was to report our own experience with utilizing fine needle aspiration (FNA) as a primary diagnostic procedure in adolescent patients with head and neck masses, examining the utility, feasibility, and appropriateness of this technique.

Study design

This is a retrospective, single-institute study that was conducted at Dammam Medical Complex from January 2004 to December 2006. All adolescent patients aged between 10 and 18 years with neck masses who underwent FNA as the primary diagnostic modality were included in our study. We excluded patients with neck masses of thyroid origin and those who were lost to follow-up.


A total of 26 patients between 10 and 18 years of age were studied. All patients presented with nonthyroidal neck masses and underwent FNA. The study population was divided into three groups depending on the tissue of origin of the mass: lymph node origin (18 patients), salivary gland origin (five patients), and miscellaneous origin (three patients). FNA from lymph-node-related masses revealed lymphadenitis in about two third of the cases, whereas of the patients with masses of salivary gland origin, 60% had a diagnosis of pleomorphic adenoma. In the third group, the masses were of variable origin. There were no reported complications. The overall sensitivity and specificity were calculated and found to be more than 90%.


We believe that FNA as an office-based procedure is well tolerated and has a high diagnostic potential in head and neck masses. FNA in the adolescent age group has not been studied separately in the literature. FNA, apart from reassuring benignity, helps in confirming malignancy and thus in initiating early treatment.


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Correspondence to Zeinab AlQudehy.

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AlQudehy, Z., Al-Khars, Z. The role of fine needle aspiration in pediatric head and neck masses: does the yield justify the pain?. Egypt J Otolaryngol 30, 132–137 (2014).

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