soaking blocks/ "70-30" alcohol-xylene processing

From:Wayne D H <>

Our lab has been using "70/30" alcohol/xylene processing for almost 7 years now. IT'S GREAT!!
Our samples come in 10% NBF and fix anywhere from a day or two if the specimens come from out of the hospital to as little as 15 minutes for in-hospital cases . In some cases for frozen section the specimen never sees formalin, we just just cut it up and put it in "70/30". It doesn't seem to matter to the quality of tissue coming out of the processor. The pathologist finds it easier to prosect breast and bowel if they are formalin fixed but I don't notice any difference in cutting or staining.
I soak on ice water; the first blocks cut might soak as little as 10 minutes, the last cut may be on 2 hours on a busy day and I really can't detect any ill effects from the long soak.

A major benefit of "70/30" processing is complete processing of all tissues every time. I don't get blocks of uterus with mushy centers because they aren't completely dehydrated and fatty tissues like breast, bowel and even brain cut easily.

Kelowna General Hospital, Kelowna B.C., where this process as developed,is doing I.H.C.stains as well as all the regular stuff, it all seems to work.

Try it, I know it sounds strange, but it works.  

Wayne Hohn
Kootenay Lake Reg. Hosp
Nelson, B.C.

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