[Histonet] small derm specimen handling

Sheila Fonner sfonner <@t> labpath.com
Thu Mar 17 13:08:52 CDT 2011


We just use the good old VIP from Sakura.  We are a dermpath lab and do up
to 600 blocks a day.  Some of our specimens are very tiny.  I would check at
the grossing point first, make sure that the cassettes are being properly
closed.  They have to latch tightly, or they can open during processing and
you will lose specimens.  The next place I would check is at the embedding
station.  Do your embedders wear gloves?  Sometimes when you open cassettes,
small specimens can stick to either your gloves or your fingers and you
don't even realize it.  Also, check the lids before throwing them away.  If
the lids are popped off and tossed in the trash can with the assumption that
the specimen is inside the cassette, you will lose it in the trash can and
may never find it.  Derms are tricky.  With a little TLC you can learn to do
"miracles" with them, but you have to remember that they are small, can
hide, and can flip out very easily.  If you are using sponges and bags
inside the cassettes, I doubt they are coming out during processing.  Go
through all the steps and "prove" to everyone how easily accidents can
happen.  It's really an issue of checks and balances between ALL who handle
that specimen.  Make sure embedders are using some type of embedding log so
that they can check how many pieces should be in the cassette as soon as
they open it.  Only open one at a time for a while.  I've noticed people
opening ten or twenty and pieces can stick to your labcoat sleeve, your
hand, almost anything that passes over that open cassette.  Try to find the
source of your problem and you will be able to fix it!  


-----Original Message-----
From: Bouchal, Rena L [mailto:bouchalr <@t> wvuhealthcare.com] 
Sent: Thursday, March 17, 2011 1:57 PM
To: Sheila Fonner
Subject: RE: [Histonet] small derm specimen handling

Sheila... what processor are you using please? We have been having problems
with lost tissue- in spite of using sponges, bags, wrapping it, etc, and we
are beginning to question our newer processor..

Please note that my email address  as of Jan 3, 2011 is
bouchalr <@t> wvuhealthcare.com  .   Please make the appropriate changes in your
address book.

Rena Bouchal, M.S.
Anatomic Pathology Manager
West Virginia University Hospitals

-----Original Message-----
From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
[mailto:histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of Sheila
Sent: Thursday, March 17, 2011 12:56 PM
To: 'kristen arvidson'; histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: RE: [Histonet] small derm specimen handling

You can use any cassette you like if you put a blue sponge inside of it.
Some people use two sponges, one on top and one on bottom, or you can use
just one and fold it in half.  Another thing you might want to try are the
small biopsy bags.  They are like tiny tea bags and you just pour the
contents of your specimen bottle into the bag.  The formalin will run out
and the specimen will stay trapped inside.  Then you can fold the bag to fit
inside of your cassette.  You can also add some eosin to the specimen at
grossing if it is white or transparent, but it sounds like that's not really
the issue if you are losing them altogether.  Hope this helps!

Knoxville Dermatopathology Lab
Knoxville Tennessee

-----Original Message-----
From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
[mailto:histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of kristen
Sent: Thursday, March 17, 2011 12:50 PM
To: histonet
Subject: [Histonet] small derm specimen handling

Hello All,
Just wondering how you all treat your small derm specimens as not to lose
them in processing.  Does anyone use colored formalin or add dye to the
buckets?  We have had a few lost ones lately (more than usual :( )  We use
the smaller cassettes from Leica. The problem with those is they trap air
bubbles so I hate to use them more than we have to.  Just looking for some
new ideas.  Thanks for your input.

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