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Digital imaging of surgical specimens
  1. T W Beer
  1. Department of Anatomical Pathology, Royal Perth Hospital, GPO Box X2213 WA 6001, Australia

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    Matthews and Denney recently described in this journal a method for digitally recording gross specimen images.1 We agree that flatbed scanners are excellent for this purpose and recently outlined our findings using a similar method.2 In fact, we have found that excellent images can be obtained without the need for a box to contain the specimen in fluid. The sample is simply placed on the device and scanned. Some imaging experts recommend the use of a black background rather than the white surface, which is standard on the scanner lid underside, although we have found little improvement using this modification.

    It should also be noted that excellent results can be obtained from scanning histological sections mounted in 35 mm slide holders.3 However, this does require the acquisition of a 35 mm colour slide scanner, which is relatively expensive. The whole mount sections can also be used in a standard slide projector.

    In laboratories already using computer technology, flatbed scanning provides a very convenient, cheap, and rapid form of recording gross images, with results obtained superior to conventional photocopying. Furthermore, annotations such as patient identification, orientation, and block site can be added to the image immediately and permanently stored.


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