[Histonet] Re: renal needle biopsy size

RSRICHMOND <@t> aol.com RSRICHMOND <@t> aol.com
Sat Mar 3 15:07:46 CST 2007

Lailasch on AOL asks: >>I'm a histotech student who needs to simulate a 
proper sized renal needle biopsy. Any suggestions?<<

Haven't seen one done since I was a medical student (you don't want to know 
how long ago that was!), but a quick Google of the topic suggests that a 15 
gauge cutting needle (of the Tru-Cut type) is commonly used, with other needle 
sizes in fairly common use also. These are usually one-time use needles, and I 
would think you could get a discarded one fairly easily, though I've never 

The areas of normal kidney in a nephrectomy specimen for cancer (alas, these 
are all too common) would be ideal, though autopsy material would also serve. 
You should suspend the specimen in saline in a Petri dish and look at it with 
a dissecting microscope, learning to identify the little red dots that are the 
glomeruli. This is something you'll be asked to do on a percutaneous needle 
biopsy specimen, before cutting it into separate pieces for electron microscopy 
(into glutaraldehyde), immunofluorescence (into Michel's or Zeus transport 
medium), and light microscopy (into neutral buffered formalin). If I were the 
on-call pathologist that day, I'd expect you to call me to look at the specimen, 
though it would be fine with me if you felt capable of handling it yourself.

Histologists and pathologists really ought to make "pseudo-biopsy" specimens 
like this rather frequently - any time you're training somebody, or bringing a 
new technique online.

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Knoxville TN

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