Lailasch on AOL asks: >>I'm a histotech student who needs to simulate a
proper sized renal needle biopsy. Any suggestions?<<
Haven't seen one done since I was a medical student (you don't want to know
how long ago that was!), but a quick Google of the topic suggests that a 15
gauge cutting needle (of the Tru-Cut type) is commonly used, with other needle
sizes in fairly common use also. These are usually one-time use needles, and I
would think you could get a discarded one fairly easily, though I've never
The areas of normal kidney in a nephrectomy specimen for cancer (alas, these
are all too common) would be ideal, though autopsy material would also serve.
You should suspend the specimen in saline in a Petri dish and look at it with
a dissecting microscope, learning to identify the little red dots that are the
glomeruli. This is something you'll be asked to do on a percutaneous needle
biopsy specimen, before cutting it into separate pieces for electron microscopy
(into glutaraldehyde), immunofluorescence (into Michel's or Zeus transport
medium), and light microscopy (into neutral buffered formalin). If I were the
on-call pathologist that day, I'd expect you to call me to look at the specimen,
though it would be fine with me if you felt capable of handling it yourself.
Histologists and pathologists really ought to make "pseudo-biopsy" specimens
like this rather frequently - any time you're training somebody, or bringing a
new technique online.
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