Re: Breast specimens

I can definitely sympathize with you.   I worked used to work with residents.

You may want to have them fix the entire specimen overnite before trimming.  We
used to make paraffin trays and have difficult to fix tissues pinned to them and
then turned upside  down into a pan of formain which we had  covers for,  This
helps to harden the tissue therefore making it easier to cut.

 I would hope the Pathologists would be complaining and starting to get involved
when they get slides with holes in them.

For some reason, residents seem to think the bigger the better.  I think is has
something to do with training.

Rande Kline
Technical Services

Tracey Smith  on 04/23/2002 01:16:44 PM

cc:    (bcc: Rande Kline/EMI/Merck)
Subject:  Re: Breast specimens

Connie, you have to convince the prosector that thin is in,more so when cutting
fat.  You could have them cut in the tissue and fix overnight(as you are), but
then have them come back and retrim the tissue again.  They may need more
cassettes but I've always advocated that one well preserved,readable slide beats
4 "rim-shots".  If they complain that it is too hard to trim tissue thin remind
them that you are attempting to cut it 1000's of times thinner using essentially
that same blades and tools.  Hope this helps>>> "Connie P."
 04/22/02 06:16PM >>>
Could we please revisit my current nemesis, which is surely going to drive me
into leaving Histology forever and seeking a lucrative highly paying successful
I need help/advice/suggestions regarding handling breast specimens so that they
are well preserved, easy to cut on the microtome, instead of partially raw
tissue which requires the cut and scoop method to obtain a slide.
I plead with the residents (1st yrs.) to trim them so that they fit in the
cassette without touching the sides, and cut them to 2mm in thickness. Of
course, most times they are 4mm or more. They are then placed into cassettes and
held overnight in 10%NBF. They get put on the processor the next evening. I
tried alcoholic formalin, saw no difference. Large breast lymph nodes are just
as bad if not worse, raw in the centers. The small ones are usually fixed O.K.
Does anyone have a tried and true method for handling large breast specimens
which works for them with few exceptions? If so, please share it, I will be
forever in your debt.
Connie L. Probert
Detroit, Michigan

Tracy Smith
Anatomic Pathology Scientist
Children's Hospital and Clinics

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