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Histopathology Laboratory Specimen Requirements

Specimen Identification

Specimens for histological examination must be clearly labeled with the patient's name and date of birth or MRN and must be submitted with a completed histopathology requisition.


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


All slides and cassettes submitted must be properly labeled with the accession number and patient's name. Use a #2 lead pencil or solvent-resistant pen (Secureline Marker II/SuperFrost HistoPrep Pen, black) for labeling.


Tissue containers: Place the specimen label on the container, not the lid. For multiple specimens, each specimen should go into a separate container, labeled with the correct anatomic site and correspond to the listed specimens on the requisition form.

Cassettes/tissue blocks should be properly labeled with the accession number, block designation, and patient name.

Slides should be labeled on the frosted end with the accession number, slide designation and patient name.


Use an appropriately sized container so as not to distort the specimen. The fixative must be marked on the container. Ideally, the volume of formalin should be at least 10 times the volume of the specimen; for larger specimens, the entire specimen should, at minimum, be entirely covered.

Containers and fixatives such as formalin and Michel's solution are available from the Histopathology Laboratory. In the event that a specimen cannot be placed in formalin, place the biopsy on saline-moistened telfa (preferred) or gauze, inside a properly labeled specimen container and place it in a refrigerator. Specimens allowed to remain without fixation or flash freezing for more than three hours will cause artifact.

Disposal and Return of Specimens

Unless the department is advised otherwise, all residual wet tissue specimens are destroyed approximately six weeks after the final report is issued. Tissue blocks and slides are kept indefinitely, unless the patient or ordering physician/institution directs otherwise.

Lab Location

Saint Louis University School of Medicine
1402 S. Grand Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63104
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