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Pathology Departments Requesting & Reporting Blood Test Information Phlebotomy Guide Contact us


Opening Hours

The Histopathology laboratory is open from 09:00h to 17:30h from Monday to Friday.

Histology is located in the Pathology Laboratory building, B38 (Ground Floor) or C18 (First Floor). A Consultant Pathologist is available on call, out of normal hours, through switchboard. Please feel free to contact any one of the consultants and members of laboratory staff for advice about any aspect of our service.

General Safety Precautions

All histological specimens are potentially hazardous. They must be collected and transported in appropriate, well-sealed containers. Small specimens containers must be placed leak-proof plastic bags supplied by the laboratory . High risk specimens should be placed in a suitable container, sealed against leakage with tape, and labelled with a "HIGH RISK" or "DANGER OF INFECTION" label. The completed request form must also bear the appropriate biohazard label.

The following conditions are considered particularly hazardous and all specimens from patients with these conditions should bear the appropriate biohazard labels:

HIV, brucellosis, typhoid, leptospirosis, rabies, tuberculosis, viral hepatitis, Creutzfeld Jacob disease (or any other prion disease), septicaemia of any type.

Please consult Microbiology or the Department of Cellular Pathology if there are any queries regarding any of these, or other infective conditions you may encounter in clinical practice.

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Histopathology Tests

Routine Specimens

All specimens for routine histological examination should be placed in buffered formalin, into a container of appropriate size. Please do not force large specimens into small pots. Please ensure that the specimen is completely covered by formalin to allow adequate fixation (at least twice the volume of the specimen is recommended). Incomplete fixation will delay processing and impair histological assessment. Please keep histology specimen buckets upright when transporting them to the laboratory.

Immediate diagnosis/Frozen sections

If possible please notify the laboratory at least one day in advance by contacting the laboratory On Ext 4750. We will need to know full patient details, the time of the operation, the surgeon and the theatre extension. Please inform the laboratory if the frozen section is cancelled

Urgent specimens

We can provide a report on urgent specimens in 24 hours if the tissue is small and adequately fixed. Please remember to put a bleep or contact number on the request form.

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Turnaround Times

How long Does a Report Take?

From the time of removal, the lesion will usually require 24-48 hours of fixation. Blocks are then taken and processed overnight so that thin sections can be cut the following day for microscopy.

We aim to process 70% of samples within 7 days and 80% of samples within 10 days irrespective of specimen type or source.

Urgent small biopsies can be processed much more quickly and other specimens can be expedited by prior arrangement. Results can be telephoned through for appropriate clinical reasons, also speeding up this process.

Clearly this can only be done for a small number of cases.

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Special requirements

Small gastrointestinal mucosal biopsies

Place biopsies on acetate paper strips. The use of the paper strips allows the site of series of biopsies to be identified during reporting. These strips are marked with black ink at one end and if a series of biopsies are taken please place the most proximal biopsy nearest the mark e.g. the caecal biopsy in a complete colonoscopic series. and the remaining biopsies in order . Do not put more than 6-7 biopsies on one strip. If more than this number of biopsies are taken please use more than one acetate strip placing each strip in a separate formalin filled container labelled appropriately.

Muscle and nerve biopsies

Please contact one of the pathologists for advice since some of these specimens must be sent fresh and unfixed to Southmead Hospital. Alternatively contact a Neuropatholgist at Southmead Hospital direct on 0117 414 2400.

Renal biopsies

These specimens are sent directly to Southmead Hospital by the Referring Clinician.

General Practitioner biopsies

Please complete full history including site of lesion and method of removal, e.g. curettage, shave or excision biopsy.

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Reference Laboratory Information

ALK and Translocation Testing Dr Phillipe Taniere/Mr Brendan O'Sullivan
Dept of Cellular Pathology
Level 1
Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham
Mindelsohn Way
B15 2WB
ALK Gene Analysis of NSCLC tumours
BRAF V600e Mutation Analysis (melanoma)
EGFR gene analysis (NSCLC)
FISH (various)
Bristol Genetics Lab
Pathology Sciences
Southmead Hospital
BS10 5NB
HER-2 (gastric adenocarcinoma)
Dr Newton Wong
Dept of Histopathology
Bristol Royal Infirmary
University Hospitals Bristol
Marlborough Street
HER-2 (breast) Source Bioscience
Reference Laboratory
1 Orchard Place
Nottingham Business Park

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