Objective: Abdominal wall masses often pose diagnostic challenges for clinicians due to their nonspecific symptoms. They include a wide spectrum of lesions ranging from inflammatory to tumor-like masses and malignancies. The majority of the malignant nodules are metastatic in origin and may be the initial presentation of a primary malignancy; hence, an early diagnosis is important. Fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) is a valuable diagnostic tool in the evaluation of such lesions. This was a retrospective study of the cytomorphological spectrum of abdominal wall masses, conducted at a tertiary health care centre over a three-year period.
Material and Methods: The study included patients of all age groups presenting with an abdominal wall mass. These lesions were assessed by FNAC. The diagnosis was made on cytology smears and subsequently correlated with the histopathological diagnosis, wherever possible.
Results: Of the 70 cases, 21 were non-neoplastic and 49 neoplastic. A benign neoplasm was the most common lesion (52.9%), followed by non-neoplastic lesions (30%) and malignant neoplasms (17.1%). Lipoma was the most common benign neoplasm and metastasis was the commonest malignant neoplasm. The most common type of tumor metastasising was adenocarcinoma and the primary tumors were predominantly intra-abdominal. No false-negative results were seen.
Conclusion: Most of the abdominal wall masses display a characteristic cytomorphology, which needs to be identified and recognized by a cytopathologist for an accurate diagnosis. FNAC plays an invaluable role in the detection of metastases, especially at sites such as the umbilicus, which may be the only manifestation of an underlying advanced malignant disease.