• Directed percutaneous fine-needle aspiration (FNA) cytology was performed on 113 patients with intra-abdominal masses. The 47 male and 56 female patients had a median age of 56 years (range, 17 to 83 years). Computed tomography (CT) was used to localize the needle in 90 cases, and ultrasonography was used in the remaining 24 cases. The predominant sites aspirated were the liver (n=40), pancreas (n=23), and pelvis (n=14). Seventy-eight of the 113 patients had a malignant neoplasm. Fine-needle aspiration cytology correctly identified 63 (88%) of the 78 cases. There were no false-positive studies. Computed tomography and UTZ ultrasonography were equally sensitive in detecting malignant neoplasms. In 38 patients with a history of previously treated malignant neoplasm, percutaneous aspiration cytology confirmed the presence of recurrent disease in 24 (75%) of 32 patients. Results of aspiration cytology obviated the need for a diagnostic laparotomy in 51 (65%) of the 78 patients with a malignant neoplasm. There was no serious morbidity or mortality associated with the procedure. We conclude that CT/ultrasonography-directed percutaneous FNA cytology is the procedure of choice in the workup of patients with intra-abdominal masses. The specificity is 100% and sensitivity is 90%. It is particularly useful in patients with extensive disease that would not be palliated by operation.
(Arch Surg 1988;123:820-824)