Histopathology, both clinical and research, can develop into decades of endless storage and archiving of samples. Many specimens must be kept readily accessible for a short period of time while cases are active, but eventually some degree of prolonged storage will be necessary. This requires a storage material that is mobile and versatile enough for retention in the immediate lab environment. It must be relatively light weight, compact, and able to occupy a small foot-print of bench or shelf space that can be frequently moved from one area to another. Conversely, it must also have the structure and durability to withstand years of out-of-lab or off-site storage facilities.
Storage boxes have proven to be the most versatile, economic, and functionally efficient option to accommodate a multitude of histology lab needs. They are rugged and durable enough to satisfy the weight capacity needs for short/long term storage of glass (slides) as well as paraffin tissue blocks. Because of the organized ‘box’ nature of the structure, it can be compartmentalized to have individual units housed within an organized system of slides/blocks.
The two images shown above demonstrate one such box storage system where the image on the left demonstrates a quick access filing center that would be used for block/slide specimens that were recently done, and where the cases may still be pending. It has a small foot-print and can be placed in the immediate vicinity of the daily work. The inner trays can be of the same cardboard material as the storage box, or it can be durable polystyrene trays. The image to the right would be more of a storage filing system that could house multiple units of the image on the left. This can remain in the lab or upon reaching capacity, can be moved to a storage room/facility.
Additionally, this same type of system can be employed for microscopic slides, as seen in the left and right images below. As previously mentioned, the durability of this product allows it to sustain the weight of slide storage.
While cardboard is a standard material used most often in histology box storage, some manufacturers have further designed and developed their product to maximize strength and durability, as well as making it in an environmentally conscious manner. The products shown in this article were constructed out of corrugated cardboard blended with new and recycled materials to support a lean and green concept in manufacturing. Thus, some manufacturers today give the user options to obtain a stronger material and a safer product.
To enhance the general organization capabilities of box storage, ancillary products are created to give the user even more organizational separation and labeling ability. In addition to index cards to label individual cases or studies, foam inserts facilitate space retention when single or multiple blocks have to be temporarily removed; as in the case of consult blocks being sent out. This ensures communication to anyone looking for specific blocks and lets them know when and where they were removed.
Box storage has proven to cover a range of applications to simple corrugated cardboard, to heavy-duty gauge steel shelving. The options are endless, and all designed for your specific needs. Contact your Lab Storage Systems, Inc. dealer today for a host of regular and custom-designed products.
- Brown, S., “Histology Block & Slide Storage Options”, Labstore Highlights, 2020.