The rate of complications in fine needle puncture was ascertained by an inquiry conducted among the members of the German Association of Ultrasound in Medicine (DEGUM). 337 complications had been registered in a total of 66,397 punctures, corresponding to a percentage of only 0.51%. 294 of these were mild, i.e. not requiring therapy (0.44%), 38 severe (0.057%) and 5 complications were fatal and resulted in death (0.0075%). Differences were slight in respect of the frequency of complications with reference to puncture technique and type of needle employed. Most complications were seen in fine needle puncture for obtaining histological material (0.67%) (cutting biopsy needles), compared with 0.54% in therapeutic puncture and 0.46% for obtaining cytological material. Among the puncture techniques, the use of a puncture transducer resulted in more complications (0.72%) compared with sonographically guided puncture (0.59%) and puncture in full view with 0.43%. Punctures with/fatal outcome had been conducted in 4 out 5 cases with so-called cutting biopsy needles. Results are identical with those obtained in the U.S.A. on a comparative basis. Compared with punctures with so-called coarse needles, fine needle puncture results in fewer complications on account of the smaller needle caliber. As with every intensive method, however, complications must be taken into account even with fine needle puncture.