Utility of preoperative fine needle aspiration in parotid lesions

Danielle F. Eytan, Linda X. Yin, Zahra Maleki, Wayne M. Koch, Ralph P. Tufano, David W. Eisele, Kofi D.O. Boahene, Carole Fakhry, Justin A. Bishop, William H. Westra, Christine G. Gourin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Objectives: Preoperative fine needle aspiration (FNA) of parotid lesions often is used in the initial evaluation of parotid masses, but its role in guiding surgical decision making remains unclear, in part due to varying diagnostic accuracy reported. We sought to evaluate the role of preoperative FNA in detection of malignancy and impact on surgical management. Study Design: Retrospective study. Methods: The medical records of patients who underwent parotidectomy at a single tertiary medical center were reviewed from 2000 to 2015. Patients who had a preoperative FNA comprised the study cohort. Results: A total of 1,074 consecutive patients underwent parotidectomy during the study period; of those, 477 had a preoperative FNA. FNA was nondiagnostic in 26 cases. There were 29 false positives (6.4%), 26 false negatives (5.8%), 122 true positives (27.1%), and 274 true negatives (60.8%). The sensitivity and specificity of FNA were 82.4% and 90.4%, respectively, with a positive predictive value of 80.8% and a negative predictive value of 91.3%. The overall accuracy of preoperative FNA was 87.8%. The preoperative FNA resulted in a change in the surgical plan in 85 (18.9%) cases. In 66 of these cases (78%), surgery was extended to include neck dissection at time of resection. In 10 cases, FNA led to surgical management over surveillance. In 11 cases, FNA downgraded the extent of surgery planned to an excisional biopsy. Conclusion: Preoperative FNA is a valuable adjunct in the surgical management of parotid lesions, with high specificity for the detection of malignant disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2017


  • Cytology
  • Fine needle aspiration
  • Parotid neoplasms
  • Pathology
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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