Responses to Parafin grades used in Dermatopathology

From:"kevin williams"


     I use Surigpath's Blue Ribbon for processing and their Formula R for embedding.  The Formula R let's me use a water bath at 40 degrees C to cut and it has a low melting point. It is a hard wax but you can cut skin with it.  Most of the skin I cut is Cultured Skin Substitute, that is the grafts are made from the child's own cells.  The cells are put onto a collagen substitute and grown to make new skin for the kids.  The grafts can be difficult to cut at times. I soak them in soap (Joy) water after facing off the block and then put them onto ice for a while.   The Formula R holds up very well for cutting the ribbons and does not "blow up" on the water bath. Being able to use 40 degree C water to cut helps a lot.  The Blue Ribbon is better for infiltration of the tissue but it too has a low melting point and  can also be used for cutting.  It has to be a little higher on the water bath temp for cutting and laying the ribbons out nicely, that's why I use the Formula R for cutting.

   Hope this helps,

    Gail Macke, HTL

    Shriners Hospital for Children: Shriners Burns Hospital-- Cincinnati, Ohio



Hi! Kevin. Our lab is a small derm lab, we do paraffin sections. In our processing, on
the VIP. We use paraplast, when we embedd we use what the techs like to cut.
That is surgipath the embedding medium. It works well for us.

Lin HT


Our derm lab uses plain old paraplast.  We don't use the plus formula (the added chemicals are not very good for you).  Our blades are feather blades from Fisher (Cat # 12-634-1C).  We have used this for years, and have been quite happy.


Hope this helps you!


Kathy Johnston

Tech II - Special Stains

Anatomic Pathology - FMC

Calgary Laboratory Services

1403-29 Street NW

Calgary AB, Canada T2N 2T9


403-290-4093 fax




Paraffin can be very important to sectioning, as Derm blocks generally need a very firm matrix to assure thin sections.  That is the main reason some of the paraffins with an infiltration paraffin and an embedding paraffin don't work well.  The infiltrating paraffin does not have the same level of polymer or hardener as the embedding paraffin causing the sectioning to be thick - thin unless kept very cold.  A good knife and good paraffin are both required to assure good sections especially in derm.  Pam Marcum





We use Paraplast + for our processing and embedding, without any trouble. 


Michael Fredrickson, MT, HT (ASCP)

Tecnical Director

Cohen Dermatopathology, PC

Newton, MA 02464

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