Re: Small cytologic specimen handling recommendations

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Hi, Gary,

I have some thoughts and experience about endocervical and endometrial
biopsies disappearing during processing.

I hate to say this, but many times the biopsies harvested are actually
mucoid material not tissue which is why it may seem that nothing is in to
papers.  In reality, nothing is there.

What helped my lab out a lot was using the mesh biopsy bags from Shandon.
They are a little pricey, but worth it.  The residents would  pour the
containers of biopsies through the bags to capture all that was there.  It
was very helpful to them also.

The bags are very easy at the embedding center because they do not have the
be unraveled and are therefore,easy to pull apart which helps eliminate
lost tissue. Also, the emc's won't stick too them.

We also marked the small biopsies with 1% alc. eosin to make them easier to

If the biopsies had pieces to them,  it was noted on the process control
sheets by the residents and the technician noted what they found and would
call the residents into the lab when there was a discrepancy

Hope this helps.

Rande Kline HT (ASCP)
Technical Services
EM Science

"Gary W. Gill" <> on 02/22/99 10:10:20 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
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,
biopsies and endocervical curettages collected in formalin.  They are sent
to the histo lab where they are individually wrapped [in tissue],
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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