Solid Mass Aspirates

Solid masses may appear in the skin, soft tissues, bone or internal organs. Fine needle aspiration of solid masses may result in a diagnosis in many cases. Solid masses may be designated inflammatory, neoplastic or degenerative. Inflammatory and infectious disease may be specifically identified in some cases such as mycobacterial and fungal infections.  




Aspirated material on glass slides, air-dried. stained or unstained


Glass slides, slide container

Collection protocol:

21-22 gauge needle alone (“woodpecker” technique) or with a 3-6 cc syringe attached for aspiration.  A smaller gauge needle may lyse the cells and a large needle may result in too much blood contamination.  If the mass feels firm and deeply adhered to underlying tissue, then use a syringe for aspiration. Expel the aspirated contents onto the top 1/3 of a clean glass slide.  Then take another slide, gently place it on top.  Do not apply pressure, but use only the weight of the slide to spread out the material.  Gently pull the slides along each other lengthwise until they separate.  This will result in two slides with a monolayer of cells.

Special Handling/Shipping Requirements:

Place slides in slide-containers for shipment. Do not ship with samples containing formalin (wrap and bag separately). Formalin fumes prevent cellular uptake of differential stains, rendering the slides non-diagnostic. Do not store cytology slides in the fridge, as condensation will render the slides non-diagnostic.