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Inking a specimen without the mess
  1. V Shinde1,
  2. C Phelan2,
  3. W Gater2,
  4. J Thomas2
  1. 1
    New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton, UK
  2. 2University Hospital of North Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, UK
  1. Dr V Shinde, Specialist Registrar in Histopathology, New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton WV10 0QP, UK; vshi{at}

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Some specimens—neck dissections, rectal tumours or salivary gland tumours—require inking not for orientation but purely for assessment of the surgical margin. Surgical margins are assessed traditionally by painting with India ink or other coloured ink; however, ink obscures the view of the trimming pathologist, spreads onto the cut surface and stains the trimming board and trimming tools. We describe a technique of “inking” a specimen with plain gelatine, which is a translucent, colourless substance. This enables the pathologist to have a better view and at the same time …

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  • Competing interests: None.