Troubleshooting in a Histology Lab

#7 Tissue Processing Artefacts

Theory, Chemistry And Physics of Tissue Artefacts

The most noticeable tissue processing artefacts are the wrinkles and tears in the tissue sections which are evident even at low power (Figure 1).  Incomplete fixation would not cause such artefacts, as the cellular histology is acceptable (i.e. nuclear and cytoplasmic staining is within quality control limits).  Improper embedding would also not be the cause …

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#6 Understanding Tissue Processor Procedures

Understanding Tissue Processor Procedures

Tissue Processing Standard tissue processing may be carried out on any number of open and closed tissue processors, although closed processors are preferred due to safety concerns, both for the tissues and laboratory personnel.  Closed system processors are “smart’ enough to prevent tissues from drying out in the event of a power failure, and the …

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#5 Troubleshooting in the Histology Laboratory

Chemistry of Fixation, Processing and Staining in the Histology Laboratory

The first four blogs of the troubleshooting series focused on being proactive with regard to the prevention of sub-optimal events in the histology laboratory.  Unfortunately, we are not able to predict every single potential issue that may cause a sub-optimal event in the laboratory.  As a result, another strategy is required.  This next series of …

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#4 Alternative Methods for Preparing and Embedding Specimens

Alternative Methods for Preparing & Embedding Specimens

Some specimens may be very tiny; on the order of less than 0.1 cm. Some preparation methods employ the use of mesh cassettes, “tea bag” biopsy pouches, sponges, wrapping paper, etc. to contain the specimen and prevent it from escaping the tissue processing cassette. A disadvantage of the above methods is that upon embedding, the …

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#3 Specimen Identification & Optimal Embedding

Specimen Identification & Optimal Embedding in Histology Laboratories

No matter what type of histology laboratory you work in – hospital, research, reference, teaching facility – there will be times when you receive specimens that you do not normally receive. It is important to identify these specimens upon receipt, so that they can be handled correctly to avoid any sub-optimal event that may compromise …

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#2 “Non-Routine” Handling

In the previous blog we looked at one way to minimize troubleshooting by being proactive and looking ahead to possible situations and procedures that exist in your laboratory that may cause sub-optimal events. This blog will continue with that same mind set. Some specimens may be received in formalin into the routine lab; however, they …

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#1 How to Minimize Troubleshooting

How to Minimize Troubleshooting in Histology Laboratories

A definition of troubleshooting in histology is: the identification of the cause of a sub-optimal event which occurs in the laboratory and the successful implementation of the corrective action of the event. Since both equipment and humans have error rates associated with them, there will always be an issue that requires troubleshooting. A series of …

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