RE: [Histonet] Breast processing

From:"Connie McManus"

Mary, my heart goes out to you.  I believe every histotech in the world
has gone through this same nightmare  --- tissues that are too big and
not properly processed, and the pathologist expects YOU, the histotech,
to produce perfect results. 

>From your story, fixation may not be the only problem. 48 hours is
generally plenty of time for tissues to fix. But if there is a lot of
fatty tissue and not enough room for the fixative to work through the
tissue (as in a tissue smushed up inside a processing cassette), you may
have a fixation problem compounded with a processing problem. The only
solution is for the person trimming in the tissues to keep them between
2 and 3 mm in thickness and to try to keep the length and width
dimensions to something less than that of the cassette.  There should
absolutely not be any tissue sticking out of the cassette nor should
there be imprints of the cassette on the tissue.  

As for the fat in your tissues, if there was adequate processing, it
would be gone.  Alcohols, toluene, xylene and xyl substitutes do a good
job of that.

There's nothing quite like good reagent flow in and around the tissue
while processing ... 

Connie McManus
Utah Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory
Utah State University
Logan, UT
Phone:  435/797-1891
fax: 435/797-2805

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Bliss,
Mary E.
Sent: Monday, May 10, 2004 1:19 PM
Subject: [Histonet] Breast processing

Hi All, 


How do other laboratorians  prepare fatty breast specimens for
histology?  Are you doing anything special?  We had a case today which
our doctor needs to have re-processed.  It appears unfixed, although it
sat in formalin on the processor over the weekend before it processed on
Sunday night.   The sections are large (too large in my opinion) and not
adequately removed of fat. We are using toluene on our processors and
have considered going to Xylene.  We have tried Penn fixx in the past,
but discontinued using it years ago.  I know it is a complicated
subject, but just thought I would see if anyone has any bits of wisdom. 



Mary E. Bliss

Lead Histologist

Northwest Pathology, P.S.

3614 Meridian St. Suite 100

Bellingham, WA 98225

(360)734-2800 x601

(360)734-3818 FAX



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