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Loss of fidelity in scanned digital images compared to glass slides of brain tumors resected using cavitron ultrasonic surgical aspirator.

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Conversion of glass slides to digital images is necessary to capitalize on advances in computational pathology and could potentially transform our approach to primary diagnosis, research, and medical education. Most slide scanners have a limited maximum scannable area and utilize proprietary tissue detection algorithms to selectively scan regions that contain tissue, allowing for increased scanning speed and reduced file size compared to scanning the entire slide at high resolution. However, very small and faintly stained tissue fragments may not be recognized by these algorithms, leading to loss of fidelity in the digital image compared to the glass slides. Cavitron ultrasonic surgical aspirator (CUSA) is frequently used in brain tumor resections, resulting in highly fragmented specimens that are used for primary diagnosis. Here we evaluated the rate of loss of fidelity in 296 digital images from 40 CUSA-resected brain tumors scanned using a Philips Ultra Fast Scanner. Overall, 54% of the slides (at least one from every case) showed loss of fidelity, with at least one tissue fragment not scanned at high resolution. The majority of the missed tissue fragments were small (<0.5 mm), but rare slides were missing fragments greater than 5 mm in greatest dimension. In addition, 19% of the slides with missing tissue showed no indication of loss of fidelity in the digital image itself; the missing tissue could only be appreciated upon review of the glass slides. These results highlight a potential liability in the use of digital images for primary diagnosis in CUSA-resected brain tumor specimens.

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