Repertoire and Turnaround times
It is the responsibility of the requesting clinician to ensure that all relevant clinical information is provided on the request form and that the specimens reach the Histopathology laboratory promptly, and in a suitable condition.
It is usually appropriate to place such specimens in formalin fixative but some specimens need to be received fresh for special investigations. In such cases please speak to a pathologist at least a day in advance of the surgical procedure so that appropriate advice on arrangements can be given.
For routine histology specimens the tissue must be placed in an adequate sized container together with at least five times its volume of 10% formal saline (this is supplied to the operating theatres, clinics and wards) in order to ensure adequate fixation. To ensure patient safety, the specimen must be labelled with the patient's name, hospital number and date of birth and be accompanied by a request form with all details completed, including the signature of the requesting clinician and a location for the return of the report. Failure to provide this information will result in the sample being delayed and it may be returned to sender. Similarly, failure to provide adequate clinical information may mean that the scope of the specimen report is limited, as the reporting pathologist does not have all the facts of the case.
Small biopsies (e.g. needle and endoscopy specimens) fix rapidly and a result will usually be available within 48hrs of receipt. Larger specimens need to be fixed for 2 or 3 days before examination can begin, and reports on these cases will normally be written several days after receipt of the specimen. More complicated cases requiring special investigations may take longer to report.
Please note that results from specimens that require decalcification will take longer than the stated turnaround times above. Special methods are required to ensure optimal results from these specimens. The delay will depend on the type of sample sent.
If a rapid result is required on any specimen please contact a pathologist the specimen is sent and mark the request form 'Urgent'.
Red/orange stickers (‘dots’) must be attached to the specimen request forms for all known or suspected cancer cases to clearly identify these to the laboratory.
Please note the Histology department does not offer specialised testing on the following:
These must be sent directly to the appropriate specialist centre by the clinician.
The surgical pathologists will be happy to advise on any problems relating to specimens and can be contacted through the Histopathology office 01622 227463.
Specimens and their containers
|Additional Information||Turnaround Time (from receipt to report issue)||Request form type|
|Biopsy||60ml formalin container (yellow top)||Do not 'fridge. Check expiry date for use. Return containers to laboratory if expiry date has passed.||7 days||Histology|
|Large specimens||Specimen container of suitable size containing formalin.||Do not 'fridge||10 days||Histology|
|Trephines||As for biopsy||3-4 weeks|
|Frozen sections||Dry specimen container of suitable size (do not place in formalin)||Send to laboratory as soon as possible. Click here for details||30 minutes||Histology|
|Skin Samples for immuno-fluorescence|| |
Vial of Michel's media
|Arrange with laboratory before sending||24 hours (verbal report)||Histology|