Re: Breast specimens
This thread about pathologists overstuffing breast tissue into cassettes gets
repeated every few months, and for good reason.
The pathologist needs a histotechnologist to assist with grossing, and in
many labs has one. This histotech needs to be ready to remind the pathologist
when what goes into the cassette isn't suitable. Because I work in many
different laboratories, I constantly have to adjust to different processing
standards, and I rely heavily on the histotechnologist to tell me what will
get through and what won't.
There are a lot of tricks for preparing breast tissue. I used to use an acid
fixative to harden slices of fatty breast tissue, but you really can't do
that any more because of HER2/neu specifications. I fairly often take a wire
localization specimen, ink it, slice it as thin as I can, stick the slices to
a paper towel, and leave them in formalin to fix flat for a couple of hours.
It's then much easier to trim the slices - and also to repeat the specimen
radiography if I think I've lost track of the microcalcifications when I cut
the specimen apart.
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