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An FNA cytology foam core device for making cell blocks
  1. Frederick George Mayall
  1. Correspondence to Dr Fredrick George Mayall, Department of Histopathology, Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton, Somerset TA1 5DA, UK; fred.mayall{at}tst.nhs

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Short report

Cell block immunohistochemistry (IHC) and other molecular studies are often required to fully characterise tumours diagnosed by fine needle aspiration (FNA) cytology. These supplementary investigations are best done on cell blocks. We describe a device that allows cell blocks to be collected while performing FNAs with little extra effort or reduction in the quality of the cytology smear specimen. Experienced FNA operators will recognise that often a significant amount of the sample is left behind in the hub of the needle when the specimen is ejected on the slides (figure 1A).

Figure 1

(A): Residual fine needle aspiration cytology material is often left in the hub of the needle after the specimen has been ejected. (B): The foam residue device consists of a core of polyvinyl alcohol foam housed in a Luer type plastic adapter. (C): The device attaches to a needle and syringe. (D): The sample is absorbed into the tip of the foam core. (E): After formalin fixation the core is removed from the adapter, paraffin processed and sectioned (F) in the usual way. (G): Adenocarcinoma cells within the polyvinyl alcohol foam. (H): Adenocarcinoma cells immunostained for cytokeratin 7. (J): The tip of the foam core can also be used to collect material from the surface of a slide.

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  • Competing interests The author has discussed the production of the device with a medical equipment company. The device should be commercially available by late 2012.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.