[Histonet] Re: Fixatives


Patti Loykasek at PhenoPath Laboratories notes >>We are a reference lab and 
receive specimens from all over the USA. One of my "pet peeves" is that it is 
rare to see in the report exactly what type of fixative the specimen was 
received in or subsequently processed in. I know we have no standard form of 
reporting, but it just seems like best practice to me to include this information on 
the report. One of my favorites is "...received in fixative..." - not very 

That's exactly the phrase I use in my gross descriptions, and for a very good 
reason. I'm not about to stick my nose into every specimen bottle to verify 
that it contains formalin and not alcohol, water, or pine-scented floor 
disinfectant (used at one hospital I know as a "fixative" for placentas). I'm willing 
to smell-test a very occasional container where I'm suspicious that the wrong 
fixative has been used, but not every time!

Time of fixation is the dead horse in the middle of the living room floor - 
nobody wants to hear that the HER2 immunostain for breast cancer requires 
overnight fixation, for example. 

Bob Richmond
Gastonia NC
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