Re: B5 Substitutes

From:Neil Hand


Whilst I recognise that heavy metal fixatives such as B5 and others have
over the years been recommended as the fixatives of choice for lymph nodes
and bone marrow trephines, my experience is that in the UK they are
nowadays very seldom used.  This is partly because fixation has streamlined
so that all regimes conform to using the same fixative, (usually a routine
formalin variant such as formol saline) on the grounds of cost, disposal,
and the application of uniform procedures (inc IHC) to sections.  Our
samples are usually placed in fixative at source, and clinicians and nurses
it seems get very confused when more than one fixative is required!

In addition, since the advent of HIER techniques, IHC on routine
formalin-fixed material has improved greatly, both in terms of quality and
consistency, with a result that most laboratories here now do not even
think of alternatives fixatives.  It has now reached the stage when junior
staff think there is (& only ever has been) one fixative with most never
heard of B5 and other fixatives.  Am I showing my age?

Neil Hand
Histopathology Dept.,
Queens Medical Centre,
England UK

You wrote:

I have a meeting today to discuss the elimination of B5 from our
Histology Laboratory.  I know this topic has been discussed before, and
I just searched the archives, but I am looking for more current
information.  What are people using as a substitute for B5 for lymph
nodes and bone marrows, and are your pathologists completely satisfied
with it?  Thank you.

Richard Cartun

Neil Hand
Department Histopathology, University Hospital, Nottingham NG7 2UH.
work : Tel: (0115) 924 9924 extension 43725

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