Breast pathology – Cytopathology of the breast – Fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) procedure – Smear preparation technique
The goal of smear preparation is to allow optimal distribution of well-preserved cells and small tissue fragments on the slide. Some common smearing techniques are described below.
- Pick up the slide with the harvest at one end between the thumb and the forefinger of the non-dominant hand. The other fingers are used to create a steady platform beneath the slide.
- Pick up a clean slide with the dominant hand and place its lower long edge against the first slide at a 45–90° angle next to the droplet.
- Rotate the top slide until the two slides are flush.
- Spread the material by sliding the top slide in one smooth motion along the entire length of the bottom slide.
The two-step technique is used in order to separate the tissue fragments prior to smear preparation when the aspirated material is diluted with blood and fluid.
- Pick up the slide with visible tissue fragments at one end between the thumb and the forefinger of the non-dominant hand.
- Tilt the slide so that the blood and/or fluid runs down along the long edge of the slide and the tissue fragments remain in the centre.
- Use the short edge of a second clean slide to remove these fragments.
- Place this second slide with tissue fragments at a 45–90° angle against a third clean (bottom) slide and rotate it until it is flush with the bottom slide. Then pull it along the entire length of the bottom slide.
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