Specimen Submission

Winter Specimen Submission

Human tissue and the formalin preservative we provide both contain a large percentage of water. (65% for human tissue and ~90% for the formalin preservative.) When water freezes, it expands. If the specimen is frozen, the water within it expands and creates distortions that alter the structure of the tissue in a way that may impact the pathologist’s ability a give a diagnosis. This is called Freezing Artifact. When temperatures are below freezing, we recommend taking the following steps to avoid Freezing Artifact.

Steps to Avoid Freezing Artifact:

  1. Perform the biopsy as normal and place the specimen in the provided formalin container. (Ensure the container is fully labeled with 2 patient identifiers.)
  2. Let the specimen sit in the formalin for a minimum of 8 hours. We recommend overnight. For larger specimens (>1cm) or cystic specimens you may want to consider 12 hours.
  3. The next day – fill the formalin container to the top with 70% Ethyl Alcohol.  If needed you can decant a small amount of the formalin. Higher percentages of alcohol are acceptable. Isopropyl alcohol is also ok – but ethyl alcohol is preferred.
  4. Carefully place the lid back on the formalin container. Alcohol dissolves ink so care should be taken to avoid spillage.
  5. Package and mail the specimen as normal!