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Effect of histologic processing on dimensions of skin samples obtained from cat cadavers

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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849.
  • | 4 Department of Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849.
  • | 5 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849.
  • | 6 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine changes in dimensions of feline skin samples as a result of histologic processing and to identify factors that contributed to changes in dimensions of skin samples after sample collection.

SAMPLE Cadavers of 12 clinically normal cats.

PROCEDURES Skin samples were obtained bilaterally from 3 locations (neck, thorax, and tibia) of each cadaver; half of the thoracic samples included underlying muscle. Length, width, and depth were measured at 5 time points (before excision, after excision, after application of ink to mark tissue margins, after fixation in neutral-buffered 10% formalin for 36 hours, and after completion of histologic processing and staining with H&E stain). Measurements obtained after sample collection were compared with measurements obtained before excision.

RESULTS At the final time point, tissue samples had decreased in length (mean decrease, 32.40%) and width (mean decrease, 34.21%) and increased in depth (mean increase, 54.95%). Tissue from the tibia had the most shrinkage in length and width and that from the neck had the least shrinkage. Inclusion of underlying muscle on thoracic skin samples did not affect the degree of change in dimensions.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE In this study, each step during processing from excision to formalin fixation and histologic processing induced changes in tissue dimensions, which were manifested principally as shrinkage in length and width and increase in depth. Most of the changes occured during histologic processing. Inclusion of muscle did not affect thoracic skin shrinkage. Shrinkage should be a consideration when interpreting surgical margins in clinical cases. 945)

Contributor Notes

Dr. Jeyakumar's present address is Akron Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center, 1321 Centerview Cir, Akron, OH 44321.

Address correspondence to Dr. Jeyakumar (sakthila.jeyakumar@gmail.com).