The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


Useful Information and Guidance

Tissue Collection

10% Formal Saline is the routine fixative used for all histopathology specimens. The volume of fixative must be appropriate to the size of the sample.

 The exceptions to fixed tissue are:

  • Urgent frozen sections:  Must be received fresh, as soon as possible.
  • Renal biopsies:  Place in isotonic saline or Michel’s medium and send to lab as soon as possible.
  • Skin biopsies for immunofluorescence techniques:  Must be received fresh or placed in Michel’s medium, and sent to the lab as soon as possible.
  • Muscle and nerve biopsies: Must be received fresh, as soon as possible. A limited examination on both muscle and nerve biopsies may be performed on fixed tissue
  •  Samples may be dropped off fresh (i.e. not in formal saline) between the hours of 7.30 am and 7.00pm Monday to Saturday to be placed into formal saline by laboratory staff. Any sample that needs to be placed in formal saline and cannot be brought to the laboratory immediately should be refrigerated and delivered to the laboratory at the earliest opportunity during opening hours.

Frozen Sections

All frozen sections are performed in the Bexley Wing Laboratory.

To book a frozen during routine hours (Mon - Fri 7.30 am - 7.30 pm) call 0113 206 7771.

Please give 24 hours notice wherever possible. Please call the laboratory again when the specimen is being dispatched.

To book a frozen section out of hours please call the SJUH switchboard 0113 243 3144.

For Neuro and Hirschprungs biopsies from LGI; Inform the laboratory as above and use the "Blue Light" service to deliver the specimen directly to the Bexley Wing laboratory.

High risk specimens requiring frozen sections.

Please see High risk frozen section protocol for booking high risk frozen sections;

Please see Frozen section information protocol  for further information on frozen section service;

Muscle and Nerve Biopsies

 Muscle for histological and histochemical analysis can be sampled as either an open biopsy or a needle biopsy.

The Histopathology laboratory must be informed by telephoning 0113 2064710 when a muscle/nerve is being sent and also of the expected time of arrival. Biopsies should arrive no later than 4.00pm.

Muscle from an open biopsy should measure approximately 2.5 cm in length and 0.5 cm in diameter. Alternatively 2 or 3 samples (0.5 x 0.5 cm) should be obtained if the procedure involves using a biopsy needle (Conchotome).

If a mitochondrial study is required, two pieces of muscle must be sent.

Place the sample/s into a screw top container or petri dish, which contains a damp, but not wet saline gauze.

If a nerve biopsy is also to be sent, take a sample 2-3 cm in length. Keep the nerve straight and cover with a damp, but not wet saline gauze before placing in a screw top container or petri dish.

Place the screw top container/petri dish containing the samples into a leak proof box, include a Leeds Histopathology request form and send by taxi or courier to:

The Specialist Histology Unit via; Pathology Reception, Ground Floor of Block 32, Chancellor Wing, St James’s Hospital Beckett Street, LEEDS, LS9 7TF

The screw top container/petri dish should be surrounded by water ice (not dry ice) if the sample is likely to take longer than 1 hour before it arrives at the laboratory.