Placentas in Fetal Autopsies

After a joint discussion between gynecologic and perinatal pathology, please note the following protocol regarding the examination of placentas in fetal autopsies.


In-house fetal autopsies should always have the placenta accessioned as a separate surgical pathology specimen. Before starting the case, call the gross room to confirm the location of and set aside the placenta. Ensure that it is accessioned to the autopsy attending (Husain/Pytel) and autopsy resident. Do not delay the case.


Unless the placenta has already been grossed at the time of fetal autopsy, all fetal autopsy placentas are to be grossed by the autopsy resident. The placenta can be grossed before or after the autopsy is completed.

After the placenta is grossed, call histology to have the placenta rushed so that the placental slides are ready for review when the PAD is drafted.

Signing Out

When the placental slides are ready, the autopsy resident should review them with the autopsy attending (Husain/Pytel) to ensure the PAD reflects any relevant placental pathology. The placenta should ideally be signed out first, with the PAD then referencing that surgical case number.

Ensure the PAD is signed out within 48 hours of the autopsy.


Gynepath attendings are always available as backup and for second opinion. Under this new system, autopsy placentas are to be removed from the regular gyn-path workflow.

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