Fine-needle aspiration of head and neck masses in children

Hassan H. Ramadan, Mark K. Wax, Carole B. Boyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Purpose: Head and neck masses in children are common. Suspicious or persistent masses are referred to the otolaryngologist who is faced with the dilemma of deciding which ones require surgical excision. Fine-needle aspiration (FNA) in adults helps distinguish lesions requiring excision from those that do not. Few reports exist of its use in children. Patients and Methods: Between January 1991 and December 1994, 67 FNAs were performed on children, 29 of which (43%) were for head and neck masses. Based on the FNA findings, 16 patients underwent surgery. Results: In 13 patients, the final pathology was consistent with the FNA findings: granulomatous diseases (3), branchial cysts (3), acute/chronic lymphadenitis (3), thyroglossal cyst, hemangioma, Hodgkin's lymphoma, and Castleman's disease (one each). There was one misdiagnosis, no false positives, and two nondiagnostic specimens. Based on the results of FNA, surgery was not performed in the remaining 10 patients. The cytology was: cervical lymphadenopathy (7), abscess formation (1), lymphangioma (1), and leukemia (1). Conclusion: We conclude that FNA is an extremely useful tool in the management of head and neck masses in children. It is very well-tolerated by children, and we did not encounter any complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)400-404
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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