While I agree if you can afford one, get a motorized, how much is that
carpal surgery and the associated problems vs. the price of a microtome? It
isn't the end of the world if you don't get it, though. I've been a tech
for 25 years and haven't had this resource available at most of my jobs. In
cutting, I can rock n roll over 300 biopsy blocks with levels in a day (yes,
good sections but only cutting--not getting up to do anything else). I
haven't worked 100% on a histo bench this whole time but in the days of
cutting like this every day--it was my SHOULDERS that got tired, not my
wrists. If you're prone to carpal and a histotech--you're probably going to
get it eventually. But you can slow it down and minimize the risk. (That
department is called risk 'management', not risk elimination!!)
The bigger issue is sitting high enough & close enough that you aren't
holding your shoulders up with your neck muscles and that you alternate
activities, stretch, take breaks...etc. The best microtome for your body
might be the worst for someone else. Try to get a demo model and TRY IT.
Pay attention to any aches or pains because although your body will adjust
and get used to the situation--that doesn't mean the damage has stopped
occuring. If it doesn't fit you--try the next model!
PREVENTION is ALWAYS a better investment than banking on a reasonable cure.
Taking care of your body is a big part. Make sure you take enough B vitamins
(soft tissue support) drink enough water to support your own system (muscles
and connective tissue) and any other supplements a good qualified
nutrition/health food consultant might suggest for you. It is amazing how
many of us don't drink water because we have to leave the lab to do so!
Your state deparment of labor will have an ergonomics division and can send
someone out to evalutate your setup to be sure you are maximizing the
reduction of risk for repetitive motion and seat position for good health.
One of my labs sent me through ergo training (Washington State) and I still
use the manuals for setting up workstations in my office and when I travel
and work in temp situations. I type 6-8 hours a day at a computer and can
be on the phone over 40 hrs a week--same issues--and I'm still going strong
(knock on wood!)
Best wishes in your search!
Cheryl R. Kerry, HT(ASCP), BA
Full Staff Inc.
Staffing the lab - One GREAT tech at a time.
800.756.3309 fax and alternate phone
[mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Patty Dunlop
Sent: Sunday, January 27, 2008 8:33 PM
Subject: [Histonet] advice about microtomes please!
I appreciate all responses about microtome of choice. I would like to ask
for guidance on my specific situation. In my facility, I will be sectioning
approximately 25-30 blocks/day of GI (upper and lower) tissue (mostly
biopsies and some polyps) and possibly prostate. I have never used a manual
microtome and do not know how repetitive it can be. In terms of ergonomics
with worries of repetitive motion and carpel tunnel, should I try to
convince my boss to get a motorized microtome, or will a manual suffice? I
know that motorized microtomes are probably twice as expensive, and although
I would feel more comfortable using the same one that I am used to, maybe it
would be "going overboard" to get the motorized in my situation.
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