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Skin Specimens

Specimens of skin will be submitted to histology after being obtained by various surgical biopsy procedures, such as the shave, punch, or curettage methods. In general, skin specimens will be oriented so that sections will be taken at an angle perpendicular to the epidermis. Identification of the epidermis is a good first step in deciding correct orientation of most skin specimens. However, since important diagnostic information can very easily be lost with incorrect orientation of skin samples, it is important to verify the specimen type and biopsy type using the accession log, embedding worksheet, or gross description before proceeding. Do NOT merely rely on visual recognition by itself.