Surgical Pathology Specimens


Step 1

Specimen containers must be properly and adequately labeled with two patient identifiers: the patient’s full name and date of birth. The patient’s full name and date of birth should be legibly printed on the side of the specimen container, not the lid.

Step 2

A requisition slip must accompany the specimen and have the patient's full name, date of birth, date of collection, source of specimen, diagnosis, pertinent clinical information and submitting physician's name and complete address.

Step 3

If a frozen section is to be performed, the operating room number should be on the requisition. This step will expedite communication from the pathologist to the surgeon.

Step 4

Specimens are picked up at client offices routinely, Monday through Friday and delivered to CAP-LAB. CAP-LAB only accepts specimens from licensed medical offices, surgery centers, and hospitals. Specimens are collected by or under the direction of a licensed physician and are fixed in 10% neutral buffered formalin. These specimens should be completely covered in formalin. Tissues submitted in formalin have no special time requirement for the laboratory.

Step 5

The following is a list of tissues that are to be sent fresh to CAP-LAB. Fresh specimens must be forwarded to the laboratory immediately. The submitting physician will determine the amount of tissue to be excised depending on the working clinical diagnosis. **Please be advised, many of the following specimens require special fixatives.  Prior to collection, please call CAP-Lab for instructions and necessary materials.  After collection, please call CAP- Lab for a courier immediately. 517-372-5520.

a.  All tissues requiring both cultures and pathology. (This allows the pathologist to select the tissue to be sent to Microbiology.)

b.  All lymph node cases where Hodgkin’s or Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is in the differential diagnosis.

c.  Tissues for frozen sections.

d.  Tissues requiring cytogenetic (chromosome) studies

e.  Muscle biopsy specimens.

f.  Kidney biopsy specimens.

g. Skin biopsy specimens requiring immunofluorescence studies.


Step 6

The following tissues are to be submitted in FORMALIN. There are no time limitations/restrictions for specimens fixed in formalin. They may be submitted to the laboratory with routine work. The submitting physician will determine the amount of tissue to be excised depending on the working clinical diagnosis. The specimen should be completely covered with formalin.

a.  Routine surgical pathology specimens not requiring special studies.

b.  Breast biopsies including those requiring tumor markers.

c.  Staging lymph nodes from patients with breast carcinoma, gynecological malignancies, prostate, lung carcinomas, etc.

d.  Temporal artery biopsies.

e.  Skin biopsies NOT requiring immunofluorescence studies.

f.  Intraoperative bone biopsies performed for metastatic carcinomas.


Step 7

If a clinic or physician's office is requiring tissues to be sent fresh or for frozen sections, the laboratory must be notified in advance to ensure specimen integrity.


Step 8

If there are any questions or concerns in collection of pathology specimens, the physician's office should contact the laboratory directly at 517-372-5520. If after hours, please contact the pathologist on call.