Fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) has been widely used for a number of years and offers considerable advantages in comparison to conventional surgical biopsy. A number of organs can be subject to this diagnostic procedure with good results, including the salivary glands. This paper aimed to compare the cytological diagnosis of biopsy material obtained using FNAB and the subsequent histological diagnosis formulated after surgery in 49 patients with swellings in the parotid or submandibular region who were referred to the Department of Anatomy and Pathological Histology in L'Aquila. Cytohistological concordance was present in 87.7% of the cases in this series, a percentage that is in line with that reported by other authors. The most frequent causes of diagnostic error may be ascribed to moderate nodule size and/or the scanty material obtained not suitable for diagnosis. In this series all cases of malignant neoplasia were correctly diagnosed. In spite of the limitations of this method, the authors consider that it plays an important role in the preoperative diagnosis of salivary gland pathologies.
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