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Clinical Oncology Service
Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (VHUP)
Last Modified: November 1, 2001
The biopsy specimen may be a representative piece of an abnormal tissue (incisional biopsy) or may be a large piece of tissue including the entire diseased area (excisional biopsy). It is the judgement of the clinician whether the biopsy specimen should be excisional or incisional.
Once the tissue is removed it is immersed in a 10% formalin solution for fixation. Fixation is a method of preserving the material and prevents decomposition. Once the tissue is received by a pathology laboratory, representative samples are processed, the microscopic slides prepared, and the slides evaluated by the pathologist. The pathologist will then provide a final report to the referring clinician.
In most cases a report will be available in three working days. However, in some instances this may take longer. These include:
- Bone biopsies which need to be softened prior to processing.
- Special staining techniques that may be required to identify cells, cell products, bacteria,fungi, etc.
- Difficult or unusual cases for which the pathologist will seek a consultation with other pathologists.