background: The role of stereotactic fine-needle aspiration cytology (SFNAC) in the diagnosis of nonpalpable breast lesions is poorly defined. patients and methods: Data were prospectively collected from 225 consecutive patients with nonpalpable breast lesions who had aspiration cytology followed by immediate surgical excision. results: Between 1988 and 1993, 258 such procedures were performed. The results of 84 (33%) were interpreted as benign, 84 (33%) as atypical, 28 (11%) as suspicious for malignancy, and 49 (19%) as malignant. In all, 88 (34%) surgical specimens were malignant. SFNAC had an 80% sensitivity, a 96% specificity, a 91% positive predictive value, and an 89% negative predictive value. There were 18 false-negative and 7 false-positive aspirates. conclusions: SFNAC for diagnosing nonpalpable breast lesions is moderately sensitive and highly specific, and has a high positive and negative predictive value. In conjunction with mammography and clinical assessment, the procedure is useful for determining which patients with nonpalpable breast lesions may require surgical biopsy.
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