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Fine needle aspiration cytology in reactional and non-reactional leprosy.


BACKGROUND: Histopathological evaluation of skin lesions is not feasible in many leprosy endemic areas. Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) is a simpler tool compared to histopathology for the evaluation of the cytomorphology of skin lesions.

AIMS: To study the cytomorphology of leprosy lesions in fine needle aspirates and correlate it with the histopathology.

METHODS: Seventy leprosy patients diagnosed and classified according to Ridley Jopling scale were included. Fine needle aspirates were taken from the lesion followed by a skin biopsy from the same site for histopathological examination after H/E staining.

RESULTS: Borderline leprosy patients with Type I reaction showed significantly large numbers of giant cells, collagen and elastin in their smears as compared to those without reaction. The smears were more heavily cellular with fragmented collagen and elastin along with significant increase in neutrophils in patients with Type II reaction while foamy macrophages with fatty background were common in non-reactional lepromatous leprosy patients. A complete correlation between histopathological and cytomorphological findings was observed in 77.3% of cases.

CONCLUSION: FNAC may be used as an alternative tool to assess leprosy lesions in areas where histopathological services are not readily available.

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Journal Article
Nigam P K
Kumar P
Pathak N
Mittal S

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