Grossing Technology Today and Tomorrow

Izak B. Dimenstein, MD, PhD, HT (ASCP)


Lab Med. 2020;51(4):337-344. 

In This Article

Embedding Automation

Embedding automation excludes the intermediary between the grossing and microtomy. Although financial and workflow advantages still require statistical confirmation, the main benefit of this procedure is in placing the grossing person as the last participant who touches the specimen before microtomy. Embedding automation makes the grossing person solely responsible for specimen orientation on the microscope slide.

Besides technical benefits (that is, the specimen is not covered by a gray paraffin film, which makes different parts of the specimen less distinguishable, and there is no race against the paraffin solidifying, which makes the sticky forceps less manageable), the grossing person has more information than does the histotechnologist about the specimen (type of tissue, clinical diagnosis, areas of diagnostic significance, etc).

The basic technological idea of embedding automation was known at the end of the 1990s, and Sakura Finetek USA offered the Tissue-Tek AutoTEC automated embedding system with paraform sectionable cassette in the mid-2000s.[15]

There are also different proposals like SYNERGY Auto-embedding (Millestone Medical), BxChip (LUMEA), QuickMBed and SmartBx (UC-CARE Medical Systems, Ltd).[16] Only a few laboratories have implemented embedding automation in practice, and even these laboratories exclude biopsy specimens for embedding automation, which is a significant deficiency. The work of the optimal sectionable cassette with different types of inserts is continuing. Perhaps there will be different solutions for immobilization of the biopsy specimen in the sectionable insert.[16]