Specimen Collection Manual

Thank you for choosing Skin Pathology Associates to assist you with your dermatopathology needs.

Skin Pathology Associates’ expertise includes an array of comprehensive disciplines within the field of dermatopathology. Our board-certified team of dermatopathologists is dedicated to providing high-quality, exceptional services to our clients and to work collaboratively to facilitate the care of the patient.

Our staff remains committed to the field of dermatopathology, providing your patient with the best possible care.

Skin Pathology Associates will provide you with:

  • Pre-filled formalin containers
  • Requisition forms
  • Specimen labels
  • Shipping supplies
  • Next-day shipping or courier service
  • Web-based and/or EMR interface reporting
  • Rapid turnaround times

Specimen Guidelines:

~ Collection

  • Please collect all specimens according to the procedures set forth in your organization.
  • Skin Pathology Associates accepts skin, mucosa, nails, and hair specimens.
  • For the routine processing of specimens, please submerge the specimen in the provided pre-filled formalin containers (for ideal fixation, the specimen should be completely submerged in formalin).


~ Labels

  • All containers must have at least 2 patient identifiers:
    • One must be the patient’s name
    • The second identifier can include date of birth, social security number, or requisition number.
  • The identifying information must be on the container and not the lid.
  • The identifying information must match the information on the requisition in order to prevent delays processing.
  • In the event that there are discrepancies in the information provided, Client Services will contact your office.


~ Electronic Requisition

  • Patient name
  • Patient’s gender
  • Patient’s date of birth
  • Tests requested
  • Date/Time of specimen collection
  • Site of specimen
  • Clinical information/history (duration and distribution of the lesion and the clinical differential diagnosis)
  • Name and Address of the physician


~ Unacceptable Specimens

The following are reasons that the sent specimen may be found unacceptable. When this occurs, a courteous member of our Client Services Team will contact your office in an effort to correct the issue. In rare circumstances, if the issue is unable to be corrected, Skin Pathology Associates may need to return the specimen to your facility to allow for further identification.

  • Specimen container has no label
  • The specimen container does not have 2 patient identifiers
  • The container label information does not match the requisition
  • The requisition form is missing or is not completed
  • There is no specimen in the container


~ Critical Values

  • Melanomas

Critical values may be made to your office through fax or phone. If the information is communicated via telephone, the recipient will be asked to read back the information to ensure accuracy.


Thank you for your trust in our service. Our team of experts is available to answer any questions you may have at (205) 949-2800.

Allison W. Lynch, M.S.H.A. – Chief Operating Officer

James E. Elder, M.D. – Laboratory Medical Director