In general, specimens are measured, opened with blunt-ended scissors along the antemesenteric border and then blocked longitudinally (but see diverticular disease and tumour) following gentle washing out of faecal debris, pinning out with avoidance of unnecessary traction, and immersion in 10% formalin fixative for 48 hours. Photographs may be taken before and after dissection.
When opening avoid areas of perforation or tumour. Tumour segments may either be left unopened for fixation and subsequent transverse slicing or carefully opened - the latter gives better fixation but the cut should be guided by palpation with the index finger to avoid disturbing the relationship of the tumour to the circumferential margin.
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