We offer a comprehensive service for surgical pathology and cytology, both gynaecological and non-gynaecological.

Specimen collection and fixation

Specimens should be placed in formal saline for fixation as soon as possible except:

  • Bowel resections - these should be sent to the laboratory unfixed
  • Specimens requiring electron microscopy - please contact us for appropriate fixatives
  • Frozen sections - these should be immediately transported directly to the histology laboratory
  • Tissue for immunofluorescence studies - these should be sent to the laboratory unfixed in transport medium, which can be obtained from the laboratory
  • Testicular biopsies - should be placed in special fixative (Bouin’s fluid) available from the laboratory on request 

Formalin-fixed tissue is unsuitable for bacteriological examination. If this is required please send either two separate pots or fresh tissue and contact the laboratory immediately so that appropriate arrangements can be made to divide the specimen.

Buffered formal saline and small pre-filled specimen pots are available from the department on request. Large specimen buckets are available from our stores department.

To ensure the slides are available for our pathologists to report on the next day, fixed or small unfixed specimens need to be received before 5pm and labelled as urgent.

If samples need to be reported urgently or are for same-day processing, we will need to receive the samples by 10am. To arrange this service please contact the department directly.

Larger specimens or bone requiring decalcification may require a longer reporting time period.

Gynaecological cytology

We perform gynaecological cytology using liquid-based technology. Preservative solutions and brushes can be obtained from the pathology general office.

Slides are normally reported within three working days. Urgent requests can be reported within 24 hours provided that the laboratory is given adequate notice.

Non-gynaecological cytology

These samples should be sent to the laboratory immediately after collection and are normally processed on day of receipt and reported within 24 hours.

Sputum samples should be produced on three consecutive mornings before contamination with food or toothpaste has occurred. As the byproducts of a deep cough are the most useful specimens, please advise patients to try not to add saliva or nasal secretion into the container.

Ideally urine specimens are best collected after exercise and should be freshly voided. Approximately 25-30mL is required. Early morning urine is not suitable. Please refrigerate specimen if there is any delay in sending.

All other fluids (pleural, ascitic, CSF, peritoneal washings etc.) should be collected in a sterile universal container and sent to the laboratory as soon as possible or refrigerated if there are any delays.

Frozen sections

Please book requests for frozen sections as far in advance as possible. This is particularly important if a specific consultant histopathologist is required to examine the specimen, or the operation is scheduled outside normal laboratory hours. Bookings for frozen sections should be made through the histopathology department.

Photography

Full colour digital photography of surgical specimens is available on request and provided on a CD.

Histopathology and cytology tests

Test description Sample type Turnaround
time
Ascitic fluid/ pleural effusion
for cytology
Sterile container 24 hours
Cervical smear Liquid-based cytology 3 days
Frozen section Special tubes - contact laboratory 1 hour
Histology Formal saline pot 3 days
Pneumocystis carinii Special tubes - contact laboratory 3 days
Sputum for cytology Sterile container 24 hours
Urine for cytology Urine (random - not early morning sample) 24 hours