Oral and Maxillofacial Specimen

An ideal oral biopsy for light microscopy consists of at least one 4 mm punch biopsy. If the biopsy is to be divided, collect at least one 5 mm punch biopsy. 

Place the biopsy in a container of 10% neutral buffered formalin (provided) labeled with the patient’s full legal name and date of birth. Avoid crush artifact and desiccation. A mesh bag is very helpful for small tissue samples. To identify orientation, please tag samples with a suture and indicate designation on the registration. The specimen should ideally be fixed at a 10:1 ratio of formalin to specimen volume.

For large specimens that require more formalin than is prudent for shipping, allow the sample to fix at the 10:1 ratio for approximately 24 hours; then it can be placed in a smaller volume or wrapped in formalin-soaked paper towels for shipping. This is not recommended for specimens traveling long distances or not being shipped priority/overnight.

For patients with vesiculobullous lesions that require immunofluorescence, a biopsy should be obtained when vesicles are present and it should be taken at the junction between normal tissue and vesicle. One sample should be placed in formalin for routine processing. Another sample should be placed in Michel’s fixative for immunofluorescence.

Please contact Client Services at 773.702.8287 to request jars of formalin or Michel’s fixative. To obtain optimal service, we request that you provide a complete and accurate history on the submission form, including relevant clinical and radiologic images. Results are generally available within five to seven days of the specimen’s arrival. If decalcification is required, an additional one to three days may be required.

No specimens are rejected, but physicians are notified upon receipt of inadequate specimens.

Delivery Instructions

An oral biopsy should be delivered as soon as possible after it is excised from the patient. Please call courier services to arrange for pickup and delivery to:

Mark Lingen, MD
Department of Pathology

Room 2-470, MC 8046
5700 S. Maryland Ave.
Chicago, IL 60637
Phone: 773.834.1975 (Direct Laboratory number)

The delivery information should be on the outside of the package. Include a printed submission/requisition form so that the sample can be identified and there is no delay in processing it once it arrives at our lab. Please use the patient’s full legal name and date of birth on the form and on the specimen container. The specimen container must have patient identifiers.