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Introduction: In pediatric population Fine-Needle Aspiration Citology (FNAC) is slowly gaining acceptance in clinical management of Superficial Lymphadenopathy (SL). Our experience adds some data about the usefulness of this technique in diagnosing the cause of a SL and therefore guiding further treatment. Patients and Methods: 238 FNAC were performed in 217 patients with SL, observed at our Institution from 2002 to 2006. The neck was the most frequent localization. The results were available within few hours. In cases of granulomatous findings, the samples were processed for microbiological and PCR test, in order to identify Mycobacteria. Results: 174 were reactive lesions, 38 granulomatous lymphadenopathies, 24 malignant lesions, 2 specimens inadequate for diagnosis. Among the 174 reactive SL, 22 required an incisional biopsy after 1 month follow-up. Among the granulomatous lymphadenopathies, 13 children with Cat-Scratch Disease recovered, 25 with Mycobacteria infection underwent surgical excision. For 24 malignant lesions, the diagnosis was confirmed by further biopsy. Two false negative and no false positive were detected (sensitivity 92%, specificity 100%). No complications were encountered. Conclusions: In our experience FNAC, performed by experienced cytopathologist, has revealed to be a fast, safe, non invasive and inexpensive method to achieve diagnosis in persistent SL. The use of FNAC gave us the possibility to select patients for further investigation and/or surgical treatment. Incisional biopsy remains necessary to confirm the diagnosis in case of malignancy or doubtful lesions.
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