Tissue Compression

From:Tim Webster <twebster@nmcinc.org>

Hi everybody,

I am looking for peoples opinions on the evils of tissue compression during
routine parrafin sectioning.

Our lab uses Curtin Matheson Scientific blades which produce clean sections
(when new) but we experience serious compression when cutting some tissues -
Most notably lipomas and endometrial curretage - of up to 25%.

I have tried adjusting the angle, the temperature of the block,
faster/slower cutting etc to no effect.  The archives talk about using
different wax for infiltrating and embedding, but little about the day to
day battle of cutting. (Incidentaly,we use the same wax for infiltrating and

Interestingly, using Leica blades produces almost compression-free sections,
but bloody specimens in particular -emc or ecc for example- are unbelivably
fragile and often croak before you can lay them out on the waterbath.  I
like cutting with the leica because the  sections are SO good, if you have
the time to be a little finicky.  Our contract of course is with CMS, so I
jealously guard my dwindling supply.

What do you guy's think? (Other than to fork out for Leica blades!)

Tim Webster
Northwestern Medical Center
Fairfield Street, VT
(802) 524-1070

<< Previous Message | Next Message >>