Frequently Asked Questions - Oral Pathology Lab

Who do I contact if I have a billing question?

Please direct all billing questions to our billing service, RandMedical Billing:

MTBC Health (Orion Rand Medical Billing)                   
1633 Erringer Rd.
Simi Valley, CA 93065
Phone: (805) 578-8300, Ext.14230 Fax: (805) 578-8950

If I am a patient, can I make an appointment to see a pathologist?

The lab pathologists do not see patients. If you are a patient, please contact UCLA Oral Medicine at (310) 825-8083.

How long does it take to process my specimen?

Routine soft tissue specimens are completed within 24 hours of receipt. Special stains, decalcification procedures, etc. require additional time.

What happens to my specimen?

Most specimens arrive during our main mail delivery at 11:30 a.m. They are opened individually and assigned accession numbers, i.e. 06D1234, the number that is printed on the top of your report.

The pathologist reads the clinical information from the submission form and performs a gross examination of the tissue. The pathologist may section the tissue to optimize the embedding process. If you have marked your specimen for margins in the case of an excision of a malignancy, the pathologist will trim the specimen so that surgical margins can be evaluated.

Early that afternoon the courier picks up all specimens for that day and transports them to the histotechnology laboratory. The next day, prepared slides are returned at 8:00 a.m. The pathologist dictates the reports in small batches, allowing for quick transcription. Once transcription is complete, the reports are reviewed and signed, then mailed and/or faxed before noon when the cycle begins again.

What happens if I do not provide all of the information requested on the submission form?

It is difficult to complete a pathology report if all of the requested information is not included on the submission form. If part of the information is included, i.e. patient’s name and contact information but no doctor’s information, the office staff are required to contact the patient (or doctor) to determine the information needed. There have been occurrences when the submission form had neither patient nor doctor information. In these cases it is impossible to determine whose biopsy it is and where it came from; these specimen are retained for 60 days and destroyed without processing.

The specimen was delayed for immunostaining. What is this and how long does it take?

We contract with our colleagues in the UCLA Department of Pathology for our immunohistochemical, immunofluorescence, and in-situ hybridization procedures. They operate a first-class facility that provides the highest level of diagnostic quality. Generally, turnaround is within three days including all necessary steps. The basic procedure is applying labeled antibodies to specific tissue components on a section cut from the original paraffin tissue block. In-situ hybridization methods, used primarily in our lab to identify specific viruses (HPV, EBV), use complimentary nucleic acid probes instead of antibodies.

What is the difference between immunohistochemical staining and immunofluorescence?

The two procedures are similar in principle; however, direct immunofluorescence studies for immunobullous diseases require fresh tissue or tissue in Zeus® media. This media is available from our laboratory. The procedure is performed on frozen sections. Unlike immunohistochemical stains, which last for years, the fluorescence fades after viewing.