Specimen handling: routine histology
Specimens should be placed in pots of 10% formalin fixative,
which are provided on request from Histopathology. These will have
appropriate labels, which include hazard warnings.
Information on the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health
(COSHH) guidelines can be obtained from the department.
To ensure adequate preservation, the following guidelines must
- Use a specimen pot that is appropriate to the size of the
specimen, allowing for at least a 1:5 tissue/fluid ratio for very
large specimens and 1:10 for small specimens where possible.
- Ensure that details requested on the label are provided and
- Patient details on the request card and specimen pot MUST
match. Wherever possible
printed patient labels should be used to aid in the timely and
accurate identification of
Transfer the specimen to the fixative solution as soon as is
practicable after its removal from the patient. Ensure the lid is
For transportation (where the pot size allows), the pot should
be placed within a Biohazard, sealable plastic bag with pocket for
the request card.
Always keep the request card and the specimen pot together and
ensure that patient confidentiality is protected.
Specimens arriving within the Trust are transported by the
various portering services. Advice on transportation of specimens
and how to proceed if there is a spillage of formalin should be
available in all theatres. If there are any queries contact
histology on 0161 276 8808.
(Last updated September 9th 2014)