Specimen Collection

GYN Cytology Specimens | Non-GYN Cytology Specimens | Histology Specimens

The following information should be included on all Cytology and Surgical Requisition forms:

  • Patient's name (full name)
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Patient's mailing address and phone numbers
  • Date the specimen was collected
  • Submitting physician
  • Any special instructions for reporting results and clinical information including history and clinical diagnosis
  • Billing information (copy of ins. card front & back)
  • Copy of patients' driver's license
  • For GYN specimens include the LMP, PMP, surgical biopsies, abnormal vaginal bleeding, previous malignancy

Special Tissue Specimens:

A few specimens should be transported "fresh" on sterile telfa pad moistened with sterile saline for urgent handling in the lab. These include:

  • Specimens for immunofluorscence
  • Frozen section specimens

GYN Cytology Specimens     <Click Here for Pap Coding Information>

  • Liquid Based Thin Prep Pap Test
    1. Obtain an adequate sample from the ectocervix using a plastic spatula.
    2. Rinse the spatula as quickly as possible in the ThinPrep vial by swirling vigorously 10 times and discard the spatula.
    3. Obtain an adequate sampling from the endocervix using an endocervical brush device. Insert the brush into the cervix until only the bottom-most fibers are exposed. Slowly rotate the brush 1/4 to 1/2 turn in one direction. DO NOT OVER-ROTATE THE BRUSH.
    4. Rinse the brush as quickly as possible in the ThinPrep vial by rotating the device in the solution 10 times while pushing against the wall of the ThinPrep vial. Swirl the brush vigorously to further release additional material. Discard the brush.
    5. Tighten the cap on the ThinPrep container so that the torque line on the cap passes the torque line on the vial.
    6. Record the patient's name and ID number on the vial, and place it and the requisition form in a specimen bag. Our courier will pick up specimen and deliver to our lab.

Non-Gyn Cytology Specimens

All specimens designated for Cytology should either be sent as a "fresh" specimen or placed in Cytolyt solution, a preservative. However, if part of a submitted specimen is intended for a culture, then it must be sent as a "fresh" specimen. Preferably, part of it can be sent fresh and part in a preservative for cytology; make sure to label each container. Specimens that might encounter this issue include urine, breast and respiratory specimens.

Note: Never use formalin for specimens slated for cytology processing. Formalin should only be used for specimens designated for histology. In addition, if your practice has used all supply of Cytolyt and "red tops", a "fresh specimen can be sent to our facility either within the syringe (for FNAs) or in a specimen cup (such as urine specimens). However, it is important that a "fresh" specimen be kept refrigerated until courier pickup and packed in ice for transport.

If in doubt about submission of specimens, please contact the Cytology Department at 843-692-1496.

  • Fine Needle Aspirate (FNA)
    • Specimens should be prepared as follows:
      • Two air-dried smears
      • Two or more alcohol (95%) fixed smears
      • Place the remaining specimen in Cytolyt solution
  • Urine Samples
    • Collect specimens in to a 30ml aliquot of Cytolyt solution.

Histology Specimens

  • Specimens that are submitted for routine histopathologic examination should be promptly placed in 10% neutral buffered formalin by the submitting physician. Bone marrow biopsies should be placed in Zenkers solution or formalin. DPP provides the pre-filled formalin containers.
  • The specimen container should be sufficient size to contain the tissue sample with at least three times the volume of formalin compared to tissue, which is provided by our facility.
  • The specimen container should be labeled with the patient's name, anatomic site where the specimen came from and collection date. The specimen container should then be placed in a plastic biohazard bag. A pathology requisition should accompany the specimen. The requisition and biohazard bags are provided by DPP.
  • If in doubt about submission of tissue specimens, please contact the Histology Department at 843-692-1486.