Objective: To determine the role of computed tomography (CT)-guided fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) in surgical planning for parapharyngeal space (PPS) tumors. Design and setting: Chart review of 49 consecutive patients with surgically treated PPS tumors from 1995 to 2005. Results: Twenty-nine patients had CT-guided FNAB. A cytopathologic diagnosis that was the same as final pathology was rendered in 14 (48%) patients; suggestive but not conclusive in 6 (21%) patients; discordant in 3 (10%) patients; and 6 (21%) patients had a nondiagnostic result. Fourteen of 15 patients who had a final histopathologic finding of pleomorphic adenoma had a correct or highly suggestive preoperative FNAB diagnosis. The positive predictive value for CT-guided FNAB to identify benign tumors is 90%, (18 of 20) but to identify malignant PPS tumors is 75% (3 of 4). Conclusion: CT-guided FNAB of PPS tumors is helpful to predict the nature of the PPS tumors (especially benign), which allows the surgeon and patient to plan for treatment, accordingly.
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