[Histonet] Re: procedure to xray fixed breast tissue

RSRICHMOND <@t> aol.com RSRICHMOND <@t> aol.com
Thu Jan 25 14:01:23 CST 2007

Cita Ball asks: 
I would be grateful for any information to help us set up a procedure to 
x-ray [fixed] breast tissue here at Scarborough hospital [in the UK]. Any ideas on 
what is the best type of board to fix the slices of breast to and to cover 
them with to keep them in the same position to enable the orientation to be 
maintained whilst being x-rayed, would be greatly appreciated.

A surgical pathologists needs to be prepared to X-ray unfixed and fixed wet 
tissue, as well as paraffin blocks. Usually it's best to lay the tissue down on 
a piece of plastic (such as a plastic tray) and take the tray to the 
radiology department and get a specimen radiogram done on it. It's helpful to phone 
ahead, and if you haven't done it before, you should talk to a radiologist about 

It's a good thing to fix the tissue as flat as possible - on a piece of 
cardboard - if you anticipate getting specimen radiography done after fixation.

A lot of such procedures can be avoided if the radiographers can be persuaded 
to send the original specimen radiogram along with the wire localization 
specimen. For convenience they can shoot two films (since there is no radiation 
exposure to the patient) so that the pathology service can discard the film 
rather than take the trouble to return and re-file it.

You need to have a view box - holding the film up to a fluorescent light and 
squinting isn't satisfactory. If you can't have a view box (the red-haired 
stepchild again) go to a photography supply store and buy one of the light units 
photographers use for looking at negatives and cutting film.

Scarborough - is that where they cook chicken with parsley, sage, rosemary, 
and thyme... the renowned Scarborough Fowl... don't throw that view box at 

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Knoxville TN

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