Breast Discharge

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Specimen:

Smear(s) from expressed breast discharge (spray-fixed smears or smears in fixative).

Container:

Glass slides, slide container with 95% alcohol, and/or cardboard slide holders and spray fixative.

Special Instructions:

  • Information regarding the site, admitting diagnosis, and pertinent clinical data (i.e. age, clinical impressions, past diagnosis, radiographic findings) is essential to interpretation and should be noted on the requisition.

Collection Technique:

  1. Pre-label slides with the patient’s name and initial
  2. Pre-label alcohol fixative container with the patient’s name, initial and hospital number
  3. Express discharge from nipple
  4. Place discharge on pre-labeled glass slide
  5. Placed slide in fixative container
  6. Complete requisition form with information
    1. Bloody/clear from right/left nipple
    2. Indicate test required: Cytology
  7. Submit to the laboratory for evaluation
  8. Alternate method if no alcohol fixative container is available: Follow steps 1-4 above.
  9. Immediately spray slide(s) with cytology spray fixative, holding container 6-12 inches from slide. Lightly mist entire slide with fixative.
  10. Place slide(s) in cardboard slide holder and allow to dry completely before closing and securing.
  11. Complete requisition form with information
    1. Bloody/clear from right/left nipple
    2. Indicate test required: Cytology
  12. Submit to the laboratory for evaluation.

Causes for Rejection:

  • Specimen container or slides not properly labeled.
  • Slide(s) irreparably broken.

Limitations:

  • Allowing smears to dry before they are fixed will render them unsatisfactory for cytologic evaluation.

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