Fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy: historical aspects.

Aristidis Diamantis, Emmanouil Magiorkinis, Helen Koutselini

Abstract

This study aims to present the origins and the historical evolution of fine-needle aspiration biopsy and to also underline its importance in the history of modern cytology. The article focuses on the advances made in the 20th century that have led to the modern techniques associated with the procedure. The authors conducted a thorough review of early reports on needle biopsy, particularly those published during 19th and 20th century, examining in brief also the origins of the needle biopsy. The first report on the use of needle puncture is referred in early writings of Arab medicine. In the early 20th century, Martin and Ellis are considered to be the founders of modern needle aspiration techniques. The German doctor Mannheim was the first to publish reports suggesting the use of fine needles with a small gauge. The establishment and world-wide expansion of FNA should be attributed to the representatives of the Swedish School of Cytopathology. The school embraced FNA in the second half of the 20th century while serving as a training ground for doctors around the world. The history of needle biopsy spans ten centuries. However, the development and establishment of the technique in its modern form took place primarily during the twentieth century. Today, FNA is considered an important cytologic technique with sufficient diagnostic accuracy, especially when applied in cases of lung and prostate cancer.

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