Objective: We investigated the role of on-site toluidine blue staining and screening in fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) reporting for patients with thyroid nodules, palpable breast lumps and palpable lymph nodes. Study Design: A total of 200 consecutive patients with a palpable lymph node or a lump in the breast or thyroid referred to the outpatient department for FNAC were included in this study. We used toluidine blue to stain FNAC slides for the evaluation of smear adequacy. The toluidine blue-stained slides were compared with the same slides after being decolorised and Papanacolaou (PAP)-stained. Results: Out of 200 cases, 28 (14%) were deemed unsatisfactory on the first attempt as assessed by rapid staining. These included 16 (38%) of 42 thyroid cases, 10 (10.4%) of 96 breast lump cases and 2 (3.2%) of 62 lymph node cases. A repeat FNAC in the same sitting on these 28 patients showed adequate material in 24 (12%) of them. Therefore, for 98%, a decision could be made at the very first visit to plan further management. Conclusions: We concluded that toluidine blue offers excellent cytological details for the preliminary identification of the lesion and to decide on the adequacy of the material for definitive diagnosis on FNAC slides.

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