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Cytology Laboratory

The Cytology Laboratory offers testing of gynecological, non-gynecological and fine needle aspiration specimens in determining normal and disease-altered cells from the various body sites.

Cytodiagnostic methods provide a rapid, inexpensive, simple means of diagnosis that can supplement or replace a frozen section or a biopsy. No tissue injury is produced, allowing frequent repetitive cellular sampling, which is important in the evaluation of the progression or post-treatment regression of a lesion.

SLUCare Cytology Laboratory Accepts the Following Specimens for Diagnosis 

Natural Spontaneous Exfoliation
The samples of cells to be studied are usually suspended in fluid and removed by bulb or syringe aspiration. Good examples are the accumulation of exfoliated vaginal cells in secretions of the posterior vaginal fornix (vaginal pool) and of mesothelial cells in the effusions of the pleural and abdominal cavities. Other examples include CSF, BAL, etc.  

Artificial Exfoliation (Surface Scrape)
Artificial exfoliation occurs when any surface is scraped and viable cells are traumatically exfoliated before their natural time of shedding. Depending on the type of information desired, the scraping may be energetic, as in the case of cervical carcinoma, where the deep basal cells are needed for examination; or very gentle, as in the case of hormonal studies where the desired cells must come from the surface layer of the vaginal mucosa. Examples of these modalities include pap smears, brushings, etc.  

Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) Biopsy
FNA cytology is the collection of a cytology specimen by aspirating a sample from a tumor or lesion through a narrow gauge needle. The method is cost-effective due to increased availability and major advances in imaging. Aspiration may be performed on any visible or palpable tumor mass and encompasses practically all tumor types, benign and malignant.

More Information

Hours of Operation
The Cytology Laboratory is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Contact Us
Telephone: 314-977-4555
Fax: 314-977-4869
Pager: 314-419-1422


Non-gynecological and FNA reports are generally available within two working days of receipt. Pap smears are generally available within four days of receipt.

Request for Services: Cytologic specimens are accepted only if requested by a physician or other authorized persons. Authorized sources include:

  • Any physician on staff at SLUCare and its affiliate hospitals.
  • Any clinic or practice that participates in the hospital outreach program.
  • Any physician licensed to practice medicine in the states of Missouri and Illinois.
  • Any licensed reference laboratory.

Specimen Identification: Specimen for cytologic examination must be clearly labeled with the patient's name, date of birth or MRN and must be submitted with a completed cytology requisition.

Containers: All specimens must be submitted in a properly labeled container which, at a minimum, includes the patient's name, date of birth or MRN and type/source of specimen.

Slides: All slides submitted must be identified by writing the patient's name and date of birth at the frosted end of the slide with a #2 lead pencil (preferred method) or solvent resistant pen (Secureline® Marker II/SuperFrost HistoPrep™ pen, black).

Requisition: The cytology requisition must specify:

  • Patient's name, date of birth, age, and sex
  • Patient's hospital identification number
  • Submitting, attending, and consulting physician's first and last name
  • Test(s) required
  • Date specimen was collected
  • Source and method of collection
  • Clinical history and diagnosis including therapy and reason for examination
  • Date of last Menstrual Period (LMP) menstrual gestation status

Cytology Specimen Requirements

Cytology Lab Requisition Form

Oral Requisition: Verbal/phone request for testing will not be accepted with the exception of addition of ancillary test for HPV and/or CT/NG.

Rush Specimens: Should an emergency arise and a specimen must be picked up at an off-time, a "rush" pick up can be arranged by having the clinician phone the cytology laboratory to make arrangements.