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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Basic Tissue Orientation and Paraffin Embedding Technique. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Liver biopsy specimen.

Parallel orientation of needle biopsy cores.

Needle Biopsies

Needle biopsies are commonly obtained from the prostate or liver. They will resemble long, thin cores of tissue. Due to the very thin diameter typical of these specimens, it is absolutely essential that they be oriented in the same plane, as flat as possible. It is common for multiple level section protocols to be requested as well as special stains with these specimens, so select the smallest mold that is appropriate for the specimen to make it easier to place multiple sections on the same slide. It is best to arrange the long strings in a parallel arrangement, and not randomly with the long strings facing in many directions. Diagonal arrangement can assist if folds or compression are a problem, since this will reduce the distance that the knife blade travels across the specimen.