Below you will find a variety of whole slide scanning devices designed specifically for tissue pathology. If you aren’t sure about your requirements, click on the Buyer’s Guide for some tips to help you get started.
Read the Slide Scanning Buyer's Guide
Choosing the right scanner depends on many factors, including the size of your lab, your slide volume, the assays and applications you are running, your budget and more. There is no one right answer for all situations, so take your time to look at all of the options. Here are a few things to consider in your search,
- Do you require a scanner that is approved or cleared for clinical use by regulatory bodies in your region? For anatomic pathology labs in the United States wishing to use their scanners for remote routine pathology, FDA approval is a major consideration considering different scanners. In some European countries, CE marking can also be a requirement for clinical use. Similar regulatory requirements may exist in your country. If you are unsure, it is worth taking a look at the following article.
- High-throughput lab? Mind speed, capacity & continuous loading capability. If you are in a high-throughput laboratory, scan speed and loading capacity are clearly important qualifying factors when looking at scanners. When looking at scan speed, ask vendors how they benchmark scan speeds. While most solution While most vendors benchmark speed on a 15mm x 15mm tissue, it is not an industry requirement. In addition to loading capacity, ask whether scanners support continuous loading. This gives you flexibility if you have a batch of slides that need to be prioritized in the scan queue.
- Look closely at scan resolution in your comparisons. While most scanners offer 20x and 40x scanning standard, it is important also to consider the scan resolution. This varies widely from scanner to scanner and can make a big difference, especially for diagnostic workflows.
- Do you require both brightfield and fluorescence scanning? Many digital pathology slide scanners now offer combined brightfield and fluorescence image capture. A dual scanner can be a great budget (and space) saver for labs that are performing both chromogenic and fluorescence assays. One thing to consider is that fluorescence scanning can be considerably slower than brightfield scanning. In some scanners, you also need to make physical adjustments to the scanner in order to use the fluorescence module. This can be another time sink. If your brightfield and fluorescence volumes are equivalent, it might be worth considering separate scanning devices.
- If you are multiplexing, what are your channel or biomarker requirements? The number of unique channels available in fluorescence vary greatly from one scanner to the next, so this should be one of your first points of review if your lab is interested in multiplexing. If you are routinely exceeding four channels, filter flexibility and incorporation of technologies which reduce spectral overlap or auto-fluorescence should be considered. For those with higher multiplexing requirements, there are now mass spectrometry-based image capture devices which can facilitate the detection of many biomarkers simultaneously. While these are not typical “scanners”, they offer additional flexibility in assay design.
- Bigger isn’t always better. If you are in a laboratory or department that hasn’t quite made the mental leap to digital pathology or face budgetary constraints to adoption, you might be better off going smaller. Desktop single slide scanners have boomed over the last few years and can now be had for a reasonably low price and with decent scan speeds to boot. This may be just the ticket if you need to demonstrate the value add of going digital to your analog colleagues.
- Frozen sections? Consider live view vs. scanners. While most desktop scanners claim utility for frozen sections, time-to-view is a critical consideration for this workflow. We’ve highlighted a number of real-time, live view instruments which are specially designed for frozen section workflow. Some of these instruments also support whole slide or regional scanning, so take a close look at specifications if this is important to you.
- Z-stacking required? Be aware that “z-stack” does not have the same meaning for all scanners. With some scanners you can z-stack an entire image, while others are limited to a field of view or a small annotated region. Not all labs will require z-stacks, but for a handful of applications it is essential and you should clarify this capability with the vendor. Also, be mindful that z-stack images can take up a lot of storage space, particularly the whole slide variety.
Use the filters on this page to help you identify solutions that fit your requirements. You can hit the “compare” button to view specifications of up to five solutions side-by-side.
The specifications on this website are gathered from publicly available online resources; therefore, we cannot claim to be 100% accurate. It is always a good idea to make enquiries with the solution provider if you have doubts or unanswered questions. If the solution provider has registered with Pathology News, there will be a “send enquiry” button available right from the product page to make this even easier for you.
Good luck in your search!
Pathology News Team
To search solutions based on specific requirements, use the filters to the right of the solutions table. Remember, you can compare up to five solutions by clicking the compare button(s) on this page or on the individual solution pages.