Liz Chlipala asks >>Is anyone out there familar with cross
polarization? Can it be performed on a standard microscope?<<
Somewhere in the Hospital Administrator's Handy-Dandy Guide to Making
Life Difficult for the Pathologist (after more than 40 years as a
pathologist, I remain convinced that there is such a book, probably
with leather bosses and a padlock on it like a grimoire in a computer
game, though I confess I've never seen a copy), and it says a
pathologist doesn't need polarization.
I've done a lot of polarization microscopy with broken sunglasses and
bits of scrap polaroid, but it really needs to be built into the
microscope, and it needs to include a full wave plate (first order
plate, gout slider, or what have you). There's even a CPT code for
doing polarization microscopy, though I'm not sure you're supposed to
use it for tissue sections.
I had polarization on my Dad's 1923 Leitz brass tube monocular (he was
a pathologist too) when I was 11 years old and looking at mineral
specimens, and it burns me up that my locum tenens clients can't have
it now. Makes me wish I'd become a radiologist!
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