The forceps with serrated or diamond tips can be one of the reasons of a “floater”, a source of frustration for everyone in the chain of the slide preparation. Unfortunately, the contamination can occur at the grossing stage of processing. Rinsing the forceps helps but might be not enough to get rid of sticky tissues or clusters of cells that hide in the treads of forceps’ tips.
There are brushes that can clean forceps periodically, for example, instrument cleaning stainless brush with steel bristles by ThermoShandow or Millex. Grossing technology of biopsies and small specimens, however, requires a device that makes the cleaning a routine after every specimen.
A cylindrical bronze brush attached to a handgun barrel’s cleaning rod can be used for the purpose of getting rid of any traces of residual tissue between the treads of the tips. The rod is tightly fastened with a clamp to the small specimens strainer shelf above the sink of the standard Shandon Lipshaw grossing station. Two types of the gun barrel cleaning brushes can be used: with thread size of 5/16-27 for bigger forceps and 8-32 for smaller forceps. The brushes are interchangeable by using an adaptor.
Both tips of the forceps can reach the cylindrical brush simultaneously with two movements of one hand (forward and sideways). The Phosphor Bronze is the ideal material for the brush bristles that are soft enough to reach every part of the forceps’ tips.
The brush is easy to clean by the sink’s side sprayer or from the station’s separate faucet.
Periodically, the brush can be taken out from the rod for additional cleaning.
The brush can be irrigated by a constant stream of water from the grossing station’s faucet that is connected with the brush by a hose.
The brushes are available in gun shops. The cost is around $3 (Hoppe’s). The handgun cleaning rod costs $ 7.95 (Kleen-Bore).
Perhaps, the grossing station manufacturing companies can offer a different and better technical solution. There are three main requirements for a forceps cleaning device: immediately accessible, steady in use, easy to rinse.
The routine of handling the forceps after every specimen as rinse-strip –rinse should be established for biopsy processing at the grossing table. Of course, the procedure takes extra time but it is a part of quality assurance. Wipe your feet on a mat, scrub your forceps taking on a new specimen!