In 170 cases of hepatocellular carcinoma, ultrasound showed a high sensitivity in identifying focal liver lesions. Fine needle aspiration biopsy guided by ultrasound yielded a pathological diagnosis in the majority of cases. The advantages of this technique, its high diagnostic yield and low cost, render the older technique of blind percutaneous biopsy using a coarse needle obsolete. Laparoscopy retains its essential role in selected cases. Complementary use of fine needle aspiration biopsy under ultrasound guidance and laparoscopy assures the highest rate of diagnostic accuracy in hepatocellular carcinoma. We confirm the poor sensitivity of alpha fetoprotein.
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