[Histonet] New rapid processors

Rene J Buesa rjbuesa <@t> yahoo.com
Sun Dec 10 08:38:47 CST 2006

  I have just finished an article about "Microwave assisted tissue processing" and I am going to send it to you under separate cover, but for the benefit of all (as Histonet is intended to be) I am also answering now.
  1- Mirowave assisted tissue processing (MWATP) is a way of increasing the turn around time (TAT) only because the tissue processing (TP) step is reduced. It can be used in all types of tissues with results qualitativaly comparable to those obtained with conventional tissue processing.
  2-Having said that, their effect stops there because they CANNOT affect the rest of the workflow.
  3-the histology workflow is composed of 11 fundamental tasks, and TP is just one of them that, depending on the technology, represents 3 to 34% of the total time, the rest of the time (66 to 97%) has to be dedicated to the other tasks
  4- REGARDLESS of the technology there will be needed 16.42hours to prepare 100 routine slides from as many cassettes, divided into 7.9 h of pre-TP tasks and 8.52 h of post-TP activities.
  5- If you process 210 cassettes OVERNIGHT with a conventional tissue processor, or in just 1 hour with the Pathos or in 2 hours with the Xpress, in EACH case you will have to spend ANOTHER 21.8 h of work to complete the slides (7.4 h pre-TP and 13.4h post-TP) and this CANNOT be avoided.
  6- from a flow of work point of view and aiming at a "Lean oriented" process, you should spend about the same time in pre-TP tasks than during processing, with a total of post-TP time similar to pre-TP + processing times combined. The least amount of cassettes you can process with present technology that conforms to that scheme are 15 cassettes processed in 0.42h, after 0.53h of pre-TP tasks and a total of 1.05h of post-TP tasks for a general flow time of 2 hours. 
  7- If your concern is NOT a reduction in TAT you are better off by using a conventional tissue processor twice a day with a short protocol (1.5 to 2 hours) to take care of the small biopsies and have for them a daily TAT, and the rest of the cases processed overnight with a "conventional" 6 to 8 h protocol.
  8- you could also buy a small MWATP to prepare the small biopsies and the rest of the cases overnight witha conventional tissue processor.
  I hope this notes (and the article I am going to send you) will help you!
  René J.

kristen arvidson <arvidsonkristen <@t> yahoo.com> wrote:
We are in the process of budgeting for new processors. The idea of these new (large) rapid processors has come up (I think they are considered microwave processors). Our current problem is volume not turn-around times, because in our lab turn-around times are only as good as the Pathologist reading the case. I guess my question is what is the benefit to these (besides turn-around), because they are very expensive. How do they work? Can you put all types of tissue in there? I feel with our needs a more conventional processor would be better (better for the budget!). Also, they are fairly new...and we have had brand new equipment in our lab before and it seems the bugs were never quite worked out. Help!!


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