Xylene-free tissue processing: good results, less solvent exposure

The use of xylene-free processing in histopathology has gained ground in recent years, supported by the latest developments in tissue processor technology. Here, Epredia customers in Germany provide examples of the advantages to processes and personnel gained through a simple change in methodology.

Pathology North Hesse is a private institute for pathology, founded 2007 in Kassel, Germany. It is a consolidation and expansion of two independent pathology laboratories. Later, a branch laboratory in Eisenach, Thuringia, was added. The management of Pathology North Hesse is in the hands of four associate partners – all medical specialists in pathology.             The service area of Pathology North Hesse includes hospitals and medical practices in Kassel and the surrounding region. There are synergies with Targos, a discovery life science company, located in the same building, which specialises in the development of biomarkers and services in molecular pathology.

               Pathology North Hesse has a staff of 42 with an additional five medical specialists and five assistant physicians. In the histopathology laboratory, reporting to laboratory heads Karin Flecke and Karoline Janas, there are 20 permanent medical technical assistants working full- or part-time, to process the incoming specimens quickly and reliably for diagnosis.

               Technical equipment supporting the laboratory work includes seven tissue processors, three tissue embedding stations and four sectioning stations. Work starts at 6.00 am. – the first specimens are sectioned from 6.30 am until noon. The team’s goal is to process the tissue quickly, to enable a fast diagnosis and return of results. Under normal conditions, the specimens of the previous day are reported around 1.00 pm. In the histopathology section, workload varies between 300 to 400 specimens per day. In 2021, approximately 227,000 blocks were processed, resulting in some 358,000 slides. Alongside the histopathology laboratory, there is a smaller cytology laboratory that handles about 30 samples a day, as well as a laboratory for immunohistochemistry (IHC) samples. For immediate sectioning, two cryostats are available.

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