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Optimizing the management of thyroid specimens to efficiently generate whole slide images for diagnosis

et al. Catarina Eloy

Virchows Archiv


Transition from optical to digital observation requires an additional procedure in the pathology laboratory, the scanning of glass slides, leading to increased time and digital archive consumption. Thyroid surgical samples often carry the need to collect several tissue fragments that generate many slides to be scanned.

This study evaluated the impact of using different inking colours for the surgical margin, section thickness, and glass slide type, in the consumption of time and archive. The series comprehended 40 nodules from 30 patients, including 34 benign nodules in follicular nodular disease, 1 NIFTP, and 5 papillary carcinomas. In 12 nodules, the dominant pattern was microfollicular/solid and in 28 it was macrofollicular.

Scanning times/mm2 were longer in red-inked fragments in comparison to green (p = 0.04) and black ones (p = 0.024), and in blue-inked in comparison to green ones (p = 0.043). File sizes/mm2 were larger in red-inked fragments in comparison to green (p = 0.008) and black ones (p = 0.002). The dominant pattern microfollicular/solid was associated with bigger file size/mm2 in comparison with the macrofollicular one (p < 0.001).

All scanner outputs increase significantly with the thickness of the section. All scanning outputs increase with the usage of adhesive glass slides in comparison to non-adhesive ones. Small interventions in thyroid sample management that can help optimizing the digital workflow include to prefer black and green inking colours for the surgical margins and 2 µm section in non-adhesive glass slides for increased efficiency.


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