Biopsies and cytologies

Biopsies and cytologies


Tissue samples are to be sent in 10% formalin (1 part of commercial formalin to 9 parts of water). When shipping the samples, several aspects should be considered:

  1. The tissue samples should not exceed a diameter of 2 cm.
  2. If the lesion is larger (i.e. mammary chain with multiple nodules), it should be cut into smaller, representative samples.
  3. The formalin volume should always be at least three times larger than that of the tissue.
  4. Do not force the tissue sample into the container and do not use narrow-neck containers.
  5. Do not use plastic bags or glass containers; please use hard-plastic containers with screw top.


Once the fluid or tissue has been collected,

  1. Slowly expel the material near the edge of a glass microscope slide on a horizontal position.
  2. Place the edge of another glass slide with a 45º angle onto the front of the sample and gently slid backward until its edge contacts with the sample. Then slid this second slide forward with a continuous movement until the material is evenly spread on the horizontal slide.
  3. Wait for the sample to dry (usually 20-30 minutes; in the suspicion of lipoma, wait for 24 hours).
  4. Fix the smear in methanol (1st solution of Diff-Quick).
  5. The sample can be now sent, properly packaged to avoid rupture.


(CC A.Lanevschi)

Please consult sampling of specific organs or tissues (lymph node, muscle, digit, bone marrow, eye, Central Nervous System, digestive tract), samples of particular conditions (bone lesions, lymphoma, spleen, rhinitis, onychodystrophy) or special clinical situations (death associated to anesthesia, poisoning, perinatal death, abortion)

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