Background and Objective: Liquid-based cytology (LBC) is an emerging pathological method for better establishment of the diagnosis in almost all the organs of the body. It is currently used both for the gynecological and non-gynecological (fine-needle aspirates (FNAs)/fluid) specimens in most of the developed and few developing countries. The current study aimed at assessing and illustrating the cytological morphology on SurePath® LBC technique when used on FNAs from head and neck lesions, compared to the conventional smears (CS).
Methods: In the current prospective study, a total of 1000 FNAs obtained from swellings of head and neck region were simultaneously processed both by the standard conventional and SurePath® LBC techniques. Both of these preparations were studied, compared witha semi-quantitative scoring system, and statistically analyzed. Pvalue Results: LBC smears were better, compared to CS ones, due to the presence of evenly dispersed cells (P ≤0.001), clearance of obscuring elements / background debris (P≤0.001), and better cellular details (P≤0.001). However, these abilities of LBC often became its own nemesis and made the interpretation difficult.
Conclusion: LBC, though costly, is an acceptable, simple, and valuable technique. However, CS still cannot be considered inferior to it, and it is recommended that in most of the cases LBC, along with CS, should be reported before reaching a final diagnosis. This is beneficial especially in the developing countries such as India where most of the centers are devoid of LBC technique and hence, are not familiar with many cytomorphological features and potential diagnostic pitfalls unique to it.