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Pathology Laboratory: A view of the grossing room

The gross room or surgical pathology laboratory is the environment where PA will spend the majority of their time working.
After a piece of tissue or organ is cut out by the surgeon, the first place it is sent to is the gross room. Then the histotech in the gross room who will accept the container and log that it was received into the computer system and these specimens are tracked wherever they go.
Cassettes will hold a piece of tissue that the PAs cut off of a specimen and submit to histology. A single specimen may require many cassettes to hold all of the different pieces of tissue that the PA cuts off and each of these cassettes needs to have some kind of identifier. Each Cassettes are labeled with a case number.

The PA receives the container with the specimen in it. The empty cassettes from the histotech and a requisition form for the specimen. Once again, everything is compared to what’s in the computer.

The PA’s job is to basically look at the specimen, describe what it looks like in words, look for evidence of tumors or other suspicious areas and properly cut the right pieces from the specimen so that the pathologist can make a diagnosis.So after the PA has described the specimen and cut out some pieces of tissue to send to histology the PA needs to put those pieces into the cassettes. Not all tissues are the same, so they’ll be put into different cassettes and each one will be handled and prepared differently.

Normally, tissues submitted to histology will be completed the next day after they’ve been fixed overnight.


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