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Oral Pathology


Q: I have a question about my billing statement.

A: For any matter related to billing, please call Virginia Mason Medical Center Billing office at (206) 223-6601, (206) 223-6715 or (800) 553-7803.

Q: Why didn’t I receive a pathology report?

A: If you are a patient, contact your oral surgeon to discuss the results. We send the pathology report directly to the clinics that send us the specimen when the report is finalized. If you are a clinic and have not received the pathology report, call us at (206) 543-4440.

Q: Why is there a restriction on IMF?

A: IMF is synthetically hand-made at the UW lab; NOT mass-produced. Each bottle is expensive, time-consuming to make, and expires in under a year. We restrict the amount we send out and verify that they will be used to ensure that our resources are not depleted.

Q: When do I use IMF?

A: Formalin is for the vast majority of specimens that will be processed and paraffin-embedded (formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded). IMF is only used for cases that require immunofluorescence (such as mucous membrane pemphigoid or other immunobullous disorders). So, most specimens should be coming in formalin only, unless there is a specific question regarding an immunobullous disorder and in that case, they would send 2 separate specimens, 1 in formalin and 1 in IMF (occasionally they might send just 1 specimen in IMF if there was a prior formalin-fixed biopsy that suggested the need for immunofluorescence) If you are a clinic and have more technical questions on it, please call (206) 543-4440.

Q: There is a precipitate at the bottom of the formalin/IMF bottle. Can I still use it?

A: DO NOT use any bottle with a precipitate in or at the bottom of the bottle. This will ruin the specimen and make an examination impossible. Only use bottles before their expiration date.

Q: My formalin/IMF bottles have expired. How do I dispose of them?

A: Ship the bottle back to us along with a note stating to dispose of the bottle. We recommend keeping track of how many bottles you typically use to avoid over-ordering. Thank you.