Study of shrinkage of cutaneous surgical specimens

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Abstract

Background:

The assessment of discrepancies between surgical and histopathological measurements of specimens is important in order to avoid repeat surgery and unnecessary follow-ups.

Objectives:

The objective of this study was to quantify the degree, time and influential factors of shrinkage of cutaneous surgical specimens.

Methods:

Data of 111 patients were gathered on age, sex, localization, diagnosis and specimen width and length before surgical excision (in vivo), at 5 min postsurgery (ex vivo) and after 24 h of fixation in 10% buffered formalin (postfixation).

Results:

The length and width were significantly lower in the postfixation vs. in vivo specimens, with a mean shrinkage of 17.0% in the length (p < 0.01) and 9.5% in the width (p < 0.01). 81.8% and 92.3% of the total shrinkage in length and weight was observed between in vivo and ex vivo measurements. No significant differences were observed as a function of sex, age or diagnosis. A greater shrinkage in length between in vivo and postfixation was found in specimens from the trunk.

Limitations:

The most of the skin samples were diseased.

Conclusion:

The largest proportion of specimen shrinkage occurred within 5 min of its excision and the shrinkage was greater in specimens from the trunk.

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