Specimen Collection

Specimen Collection

Rabkin Dermatopathology supplies referring physicians with three types of pre-filled specimen containers, each of which contains a different fixative or medium.  None of the three requires any refrigeration even after specimens are added, however specimens should be placed in the appropriate fixative as soon as possible after surgery.  Most skin biopsies will be best-preserved in regular size containers.  Excisions and other large or fatty specimens should be placed in large containers which we supply with a mixture of alcohols and formalin.  Tissue for direct immunofluorescence studies should be placed in IF medium (Michel's medium) only.  When direct immunofluorescence is the study being requested, the specimen should never be in contact with any form of formalin.

Fill in a specimen bottle label for each specimen and affix it to the specimen container. 

Please use ball-point pens rather than felt-tip markers to fill in labels and request slips, because ink from markers can run and become illegible if any leakage occurs.  We will be happy to send you special pens containing waterproof ink upon request. 

Our request slips are printed on multi-part NCR paper.  Tear off the bottom sheet and retain it for your records.  Put the specimen container(s) for each individual patient into a biohazard bag, then fold the request slip and any other paperwork for that patient and put them in the pocket behind the bag. 

Put all of the biohazard bags containing the day’s specimens and request slips into a plastic FedEx large clinical pak.  Squeeze any extra air out of the plastic bag, then seal the bag. 

Put the FedEx large clinical pak into the preaddressed FedEx mailing box and seal the box.  We attach a preprinted shipping label (called a “billable stamp”) to the FedEx boxes we send you.  If you are not on a regular pick up schedule with FedEx, call FedEx at 1-800-GO-FEDEX at least 2 hours before your closing time for pick up the same day.  It is very important when calling FedEx that you request  “AIR PICKUP”, NOT  “Ground Pickup”. 

Give the package to the FedEx driver.

Contact - Conveniently Located


440 William Pitt Way
Pittsburgh, PA 15238


Monday-Friday: 8am-5pm
Saturday & Sunday: Closed


+1 800.786.3054 - Toll Free
+1 412.968.9266 - Local
+1 412.968.5673 - Fax



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