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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Troubleshooting Guidance for Hematoxylin and Eosin (H&E) Stain. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Proper Specimen Collection and Handling

Sample collection can certainly make staining a challenge. Samples that have been removed from the patient using cautery or freezing techniques can cause "burnt" appearing edges to the tissue, making margins a challenge to stain and diagnose. In some cases, multiple sample collections, such as GI biopsies, can have variability within the tissue block simply because the first few samples were collected from the forceps with gauze or a cotton tipped applicator, while the last sample was placed directly into formalin. Providing training to surgical staff for proper collection techniques can not only help the lab and pathologist provide better quality results, but can reduce the risk of patients returning for additional procedures due to lost samples from poor collection.