Peroperative pancreatic aspiration biopsies were performed on 21 patients with pancreatic lesions using a standard 20-ml disposable syringe and a 21-gauge needle. No complications were recorded which could be attributed to this procedure. A further 10 aspiration biopsies were carried out on postmortem specimens in an attempt to determine the accuracy of this method in the diagnosis of carcinoma of the pancreas. It is concluded that peroperative pancreatic needle biopsy is a safe procedure which is easily performed without special instruments. In can be of enormous value to the surgeon in planning the treatment of patients with pancreatic lesions. In cases where there is an operable mass in the pancreas it offers a simple and quick method of determining the presence of malignant cells and thus definitive surgery may be performed with confidence. For the inoperable cases it offers a method of histological confirmation of the operative findings.
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