Non-Cervical Cytology

What is the importance of cytology?

Cytology is carried out as the turnaround times are shorter then Histopatholgy for providing an inital diagnosis, also mst of the procedures are less invasive the the surgical procedures.


What stains are provided and the reason why?

Papanicolaou  stain  (also Papanicolaou's  stain  and Pap  stain) is a multichromatic (multicolored)  cytological staining  technique. The Papanicolaou  stain  is one of the most widely used  stains in cytology, where it is used to aid pathologists in making a diagnosis. The PAP Stain is for good nuclear detail, this is used to differentiate between cells.

May Grunwald-Giemsa (MGG) staining method is used for morphological inspection and differential counting of blood cells as well as giving Cytoplasmic details. MGG contains alkaline methylene blue (a basic dye), related azures (also basic dyes) and acidic eosin (an acid dye) and Giemsa staining makes effect of azure more prominent staining stains all cellular components.


What is the Process for Handling CSF samples withing and outside of the routine hours?(Mon-Fri 8.30am-5.00pm)

This is not a routine investigation in the majority of patients who are having a lumbar puncture.

The main indication is when there is clinical suspicion that malignant cells are circulating in the cerebrospinal fluid.

It is also an investigation that may be used to characterise unusual suspected inflammatory conditions affecting the central nervous system. CSF cytology does not provide a differential or absolute cell count.

Please phone the relevant laboratory (ext 63317) to inform them that a CSF sample is being taken and will require cytology.

A sample of >2ml is optimal for cytology. Samples should be taken directly to the pathology department rather than using routine collection services as cells can deteriorate if the sample is left to stand.

Separate samples should be taken for microbiology, and clinical chemistry.

The laboratory service is available from 09:00 to 17:00 Mon-Friday only (excluding statutory holidays).

CSF cytology samples should be received in the laboratory by 16:00 hours to allow time for processing.

It is not possible to deal with samples arriving after 17:00hrs. In such cases the clinician should discuss a late sample with the Haematology on call service. See Cytology section for more details.

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