Biopsy Specimens

Fine needle aspiration (FNA) cytology has only a very limited role in the diagnosis of primary bone tumours. Bones are obviously deep-seated and due to the hard nature of the tissue do not avail themselves to aspiration cytology. Although this technique is very well established in breast and head and neck pathology it has almost no role to play in the diagnosis of primary bone tumours. Occasionally, radiologically guided fine needle aspiration can be performed where metastatic disease is suspected.

Needle biopsy (Jamshedi needle or Surecut) under radiological control is the preferred method used to obtain a biopsy. Often the radiologist performs the biopsy. This method has the advantage of saving valuable theatre time, requires minimal anaesthesia and is much less invasive for the patient and for planning future treatment. It is most important that good radiological imaging is available to ensure that the needle is in the right place. Occasionally needle biopsy fails to obtain a good sample to allow definitive diagnosis to be made and then open biopsy is required.

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