Both fine needle aspiration (FNA) and conventional scraping were used to obtain cytodiagnostic samples from ulcers and sinuses of the skin (18 cases) and tongue (3 cases). These included 14 cases of tuberculosis, 5 squamous-cell carcinomas and 2 cases of nonspecific infection. The FNA smears contained characteristic tuberculous granulomas or epithelioid cells in 10 of the 14 tuberculosis cases and ample diagnostic material in 4 of the 5 carcinoma cases; in contrast the scraping smears predominantly contained necrotic material on which a diagnosis was not possible. Of the 19 cases of tuberculosis and malignancy, 12 were diagnosed only by FNA, 6 were diagnosed by both methods and the FNA sample was negative while the scrape was positive in 1 case. Hence, the diagnosis was made in 18 of 19 by FNA cytology, but in only 7 of 19 cases by scraping cytology, strongly indicating the diagnostic superiority of the former in diagnosing many lesions of the body surface.