Objective: Neck masses are common in children. Although there is a low incidence of therapeutically significant pathology, biopsy is occasionally required for evaluation. Open biopsy or fine needle aspiration may be used to obtain tissue. Open biopsy provides material suitable for histological analysis but requires general anaesthesia. Cytological material obtained by fine needle aspiration is often inconclusive. A core of histological material may also be obtained by percutaneous cutting-needle biopsy, a recognised procedure at other anatomical sites, usually performed under local anaesthesia.
Materials and methods: There are few accounts using cutting needles in adult neck masses and no previous paediatric series. We present our experience of ultrasound-guided core biopsies of neck masses in 15 children ranging in age from three months to 16 years.
Results: Thirteen biopsies were easily performed without sedation as an outpatient procedure under topical and injected local anaesthetic. In all fifteen cases the procedure was well tolerated and a tissue successfully obtained.
Conclusion: Ultrasound guided cutting needle biopsies of head and neck masses of children can be performed under local anaesthesia in the majority of cases.