To work with these kinds of specimens, for years and years in hospital used Goody curler paper (sorry I don't know anything about hairdressers curling hair but they can be had at drugstore/department store where they sell hair products). Get 500 or so for a couple of dollars.
Wet them in the fixative. Mentally divide the paper into thirds each way so you have a mental image of 9 square areas in a 3x3 array. Carefully put your fragments or shavings or small biopsies in center area. Using forceps, fold up the bottom third. Fold down top third. Fold in left hand and right hand thirds to end up with square that fits in cassette and won't unfold. When processed, while unfolding you know where those bits are. Either in the center area or the single area folded over top of it.
It silly, its dirt cheap, its not high-tech, its not cool or sophisticated, but for us in my lab, we never would loose any bits or pieces. Maybe we were lucky with the set-up but if I put 8 minute fragments of a gastric biopsy in, I felt confident and always could locate those 8 fragments easily for embedding. Bags I'd have trouble in creases and corners and even too with mesh cassettes. Processed well and any problem I thought might have (like getting paper shreds into block for bad sectioning), just never happened.
I still think those Goody curl papers are the best. I've never had them fail to give me back every single bit of irreplaceable tissue I put in. And pretty economically.
-------------- Original message --------------
> Why would anyone want to use paper rather than the present-day nylon
> specimen bags?
> I recently looked at the Fisher Web site and was astonished to learn
> from the
> fisherhealthcare.com Web site, accessed a few days ago:
> biopsy bag 30 x 50 mm, Fisherbrand 15-182-116
> 500 bags for $228.17
> in contrast, Fisher offers biopsy foam pads, 22-038221
> 1000 rectangular pads for $73.91
> In other words, those nylon bags list at around 45 cents US each, while
> the little blue foam pads are around 7 cents each, or half that if you
> cut them in two as I usually do.
> Finding this out certainly made me change the way I use these two items
> - put small discrete biopsy specimens on blue pads (marked with a small
> drop of safranin solution), and reserve the bags for small curettage
> specimens, cell blocks, and things like that.
> I've used these two items in a good man pathology practices, but never
> knew the cost of them before, since catalogs are always locked up in
> the lab manager's office and not available to histotechnologists. Will
> some of you Good Managers enlighten me as to why it's Good Management
> Practice to have bench techs not know the cost of the items they work
> Bob Richmond
> Samurai Pathologist
> Knoxville TN
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