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Cell sampling and preparation methods

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Respiratory cytomorphology is heavily dependent on specimen type and preparation. Cell sampling and preparation methods are crucial for a correct cytologic interpretation.

In the diagnosis of pulmonary nodules, bronchoscopic methods are usually the first approach for central lesions; if negative, fine needle aspiration (FNA) cytology can be performed. FNA cytology is particularly useful for peripheral lesions.

  • Sputum
  • Bronchial material
  • Transbronchial fine needle aspiration
  • Transthoracic fine needle aspiration

Liquid based cytology  (LBC), which has been extensively implemented in the cervical screening program, is only used in selected areas of respiratory cytology because of its costs and less standardised criteria in mucus-rich samples.