Cytologic features
Unsatisfactory specimen

Topic Completed: 1 March 2011

Minor changes: 3 December 2020

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PubMed search: cervix unsatisfactory specimen

Farnaz Hasteh, M.D.
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Cite this page: Hasteh F. Unsatisfactory specimen. PathologyOutlines.com website. https://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/cervixcytologyunsatisfactoryspecimen.html. Accessed March 9th, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Unsatisfactory if more than 75% of specimen is obscured by blood or inflammation
  • Also due to scant cellularity or if specimen is rejected not processed or unsatisfactory for evaluation due to another reason
  • An adequate conventional Pap test should have 8,000 to 12,000 squamous cells
  • An adequate liquid based preparation (LBP) should have at least 5,000 squamous cells (review at least 10 microscopic fields at 40×)
  • Examples of sample reports for unsatisfactory cases:
    • Unsatisfactory because of obscuring inflammation
    • Unsatisfactory because of insufficient squamous cellularity
    • Unsatisfactory because of obscuring blood
Clinical features
Cytology images

Contributed by Dr. Marilin Rosa

Unsatisfactory, scant and obscuring inflammation

Adequate pap, 5x

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Unsatisfactory poorly cellular smear

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