Skip to main content

Sample Collecting and Handling

It is important for our customers to provide all relevant clinical data and history to allow for accurate reporting and advice of patient management. 

It is important that all of our customers ensure the integrity of all samples sent to us for testing as well as providing all relevant clinical data and history to allow for accurate reporting and advice of patient management.

For all samples please refer to the following sections on this site for information on how to correctly send a sample with regards to sample information, labelling and transportation –

  • Request Forms
  • Specimen Packing
  • Specimen Transportation

Histology Specimen

Please adhere to the following when sending a sample for histological examination -

  • For samples requiring routine histopathology, the patient’s tissue sample should be placed inside an appropriately sized specimen container containing 10% formalin immediately after removal to ensure integrity of the tissue and to allow for adequate fixation
  • Bouins fixative can be provided for testicular biopsies on request
  • Michel’s Medium can be provided for skin specimens requiring immunofluorescence on request
  • The volume of fixative should be at least ten times the volume of the specimen
  • For large specimens where this is not possible, the specimen must be at least totally immersed in the formalin
  • For bowel resection specimens – please open along the anti-mesenteric border but DO NOT OPEN THROUGH THE TUMOUR.  The bowel should be cleaned of faecal material before placing into formalin as per above guidelines
  • For samples requiring specialist testing – please contact us if you are unsure if any specific fixation requirements are necessary

Cytology Samples

Please adhere to the following when sending a sample for cytological examination –

  • Urines
    Ideally 50 ml of freshly voided mid morning sample should be submitted on the same day (early morning or mid stream samples are NOT suitable for cytological assessment). If delay is anticipated, samples should be kept refrigerated and ideally an equal amount of cytology fixative should be added.
  • Serous Fluids
    Ideally two 50 ml containers of freshly collected fluid (without fixative) should be submitted. Specimens should be kept refrigerated and ideally should reach the laboratory on the same day. If delay is anticipated, fixative should be added.
  • Synovial Fluids
    Synovial fluids should be collected in a sterile universal container for crystal analysis. Alcohol should NEVER be added to these samples as it dissolves the crystals.
  • Fluids (BAL, cyst fluids, needle washings etc.)
    Specimens should be kept refrigerated and ideally should reach the laboratory on the same day. If delay is anticipated, fixative should be added.
  • FNA’s
    FNA direct spread air dried and wet fixed specimens can be submitted with or without needle washings in saline.
  • Wet fixed slides should be fixed as soon as spreads are made
  • Air dried slides should be dried very quickly to optimize cellular preservation
  • Brushing Specimens
    Bronchial, gastric and oesophageal brushings can be sent in fixative or as direct spread slides.
  • CSF
    CSF specimens should reach the laboratory within two hours of aspiration. The laboratory must be informed before the specimen is sent.
  • Sputum Specimens
    Samples from three consecutive days should be collected. Fixative can be added if significant delay in reaching the laboratory is anticipated.

Welcome to the Unilabs Website

Continue to the main Corporate Website

OR: Select a Unilabs Country Website from the list below

" "