Objective: To study the efficacy of the ultrafast Papanicolaou (UFP) staining technique for immediate cytologic diagnosis, to check specimen adequacy during radiologically guided fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) procedures and to objectively assess the quality of UFP stain and factors affecting it. Study Design: Serial and random samples of cytologic material from 347 patients during a 2-year period were divided in 3 groups. Group I included 238 outpatient FNACs, group II included 59 radiologically guided FNACs, and group III included 50 cases of intraoperative cytology. After staining air-dried smears with UFP stain, immediate diagnosis was given. In group II, material adequacy was also conveyed to the radiologist. Results: Overall diagnosis was possible in 297 (85.6%) cases. Only 8 (2.3%) cases could not be diagnosed due to staining difficulties. The overall concordance rate was 98%. Seventy-five percent of cases showed ‘excellent’ and ‘good’ morphology, allowing easy diagnosis. In 25% of ‘fair’ cases diagnosis was still possible, although with some difficulties. Factors affecting the quality of staining are discussed. Conclusion: The UFP staining technique is an accurate and reliable method for rapid cytology reporting. It significantly reduces total turn around time of the test result, thereby having the potential to be cost-effective, both for the patient and the hospital.

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