RE: Small cytologic specimen handling recommendations

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From:Rhonda Allen <> (by way of histonet)
To:histonet <>
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We use about 15ml of eosin to our last 95% alcohol on our processor.  This
helps color the small bx's so you can see them when embedding.  It also
helps to identify skin edges for orientation, as the epithelium does not
seem to stain.  It seems to all wash out of the tissue when you dehydrate
the sections for staining.
Rhonda Allen
-----Original Message-----
From: Gary W. Gill []
Sent: Monday, February 22, 1999 9:10 PM
To: Histonet
Cc: Gary Gill
Subject: Small cytologic specimen handling recommendations

Can anyone recommend materials and methods or products for processing small
specimens of loosely aggregated cells?  Is there, for example, material that
when added to formalin will coalesce/solidify/harden etc. so that the cells
will remain together and the bonding agent will remain intact through
embedment in paraffin?

Specifically, these are specimens such as fine needle aspirates, endometrial
biopsies and endocervical curettages collected in formalin.  They are sent
to the histo lab where they are individually wrapped [in tissue], dehydrated
in alcohol, cleared in xylene, and embedded in paraffin.  Even if stained,
these can be very difficult for the histotechs to see the specimens, which
are small and blend in with the paraffin, and therefore difficult to
determine how far to section into the block.  Also, the specimen
disaggregates during processing so the cells are widely separated (or lost)
and less useful than they could be otherwise.

Thanks for any and all suggestions.

Gary Gill

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