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In response to Dr Rush's comments on my article, I did not intend to condemn the use of needle biopsy as a valid diagnostic tool. I support Dr Crile's aspiration of thyroid nodules and, since my residency days at Memorial Hospital, have been an advocate of aspiration of breast masses. In these instances and others, I find it a very useful procedure.I seriously question the value of needle biopsy in accurately diagnosing parotid swellings. It is not just the needle dissemination which Dr Rush mentions that alarms me. I am more concerned with the remote possibility of obtaining an accurate histologic identification. My second cause for concern is the inherent danger of injury to the facial nerve in such a blind maneuver as a needle biopsy. We do not encounter this hazard in needle biopsy of other areas, for example, liver, lung, or breast.I am unfamiliar
Tamoney HJ. Needle Biopsy-Reply. JAMA. 1976;235(22):2391. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260480013016