[Histonet] formalin at grossing stations

patsy ruegg pruegg <@t> ihctech.net
Tue Feb 20 09:42:40 CST 2007

We use 70% alcohol as holding reagent before grossing, but you need to make
sure the tissues are really fixed before doing that or the alcohol can
damage surface proteins for IHC.  I would think that if you left a little
formalin in the basket and used water for a short time before grossing and
then continued fixing with the formalin you would be alright.  How long are
your samples fixed in formalin before you would want to use water for up to
30 min?

Patsy Ruegg, HT(ASCP)QIHC
12635 Montview Blvd. #216
Aurora, CO 80010
fax 720-859-4110
pruegg <@t> ihctech.net
-----Original Message-----
From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
[mailto:histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of Vickroy, Jim
Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2007 8:23 AM
To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: [Histonet] formalin at grossing stations

We have had borderline formalin levels at one of our grossing stations
and one of my techs has asked an interesting question.  Currently we
place cassettes of grossed tissue in baskets at the grossing station and
then the cassettes are transferred to larger baskets underneath a hood.
The "temporary holding baskets" at the work stations are in covered
containers of formalin.  The question he asked is would it cause any
problems with the tissue if the "temporary holding areas" had water in
them instead of formalin?  My first thought is that most likely the
tissue would not be appreciably affected since the small surgical
biopsies are properly fixed before the grossing occurs.  Storage in the
temporary containers is less than a half hour.  We have also heard that
some folks soak their "blue sponges" in water instead of formalin in
order to help the formalin levels.   Of course we have tried all of the
usual things to reduce formalin levels, including better ventilation,
formalin neutralizing pads, etc, etc, etc.  I am interested in other's
thoughts and what kind of setups do they have at their work grossing
stations.  As a final note one of our PA's has been using water at her
station for over a year and we have not seen any differences in her
tissue.  However she is generally working with larger tissue specimens
and not small biopsies.


Thanks for your comments.



Jim Vickroy

Technical Supervisor - Surgical and Autopsy Pathology

Memorial Medical Center


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