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Normal cells / non-neoplastic findings

Air drying artifact

Reviewer: Varsha Manucha, M.D. (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 2 October 2010, last major update August 2010
Copyright: (c) 2006-2010, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

Definition / general
======================================================================== =

● Artifact due to delay in immersion in alcohol fixative (Hong Kong Society of Cytology, Section 2.4.3)
● More common on conventional than liquid based smears
● Specimen is unsatisfactory if more than 75% of cells show air drying; if less extensive, may be mentioned as a quality indicator
● May cause discrepant diagnosis of LSIL or underdiagnosis for HSIL smears (Cancer 2002;96:218, Indian J Cancer 2004;41:104)
● Associated with ASCUS in perimenopausal women (Cancer 2001;93:100)

Cytology description ======================================================================== =

● Cells are degenerated, eosinophilic, enlarged and lightly stained
● Nuclei are pale, flattened and lack chromatin detail

Cytology images


Sheets of parabasal cells with slight air drying

Sheets of parabasal cells with slight air drying


ASC-US                     HSIL

End of Cervix-cytology > Normal cells / non-neoplastic findings > Air drying artifact

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