RE: soaking blocks

From:Leo Levesque <>

I agree with Renee.  For at least the last 30 years, we have followed the
routine of rough cutting paraffin blocks then placing them on an ice bath
for 15 minutes to 1 hour.  We have never experienced swelling of tissue
except when they are improperly processed.  Soaking blocks on an ice bath
creates a block which cuts more smoothly and results in better quality.  If
anyone has ever tried cutting brains on a dry cold plate you will have
experienced the problems of cracking or chattering of sections because it is
too cold.  For those who do not soak blocks on an ice bath, you don't know
what your missing.  We cut over 85,000 paraffin blocks/year in our lab and
would never give up this technique.

Leo Levesque
Charge Technologist
Health Sciences Centre
Winnipeg, Manitoba

-----Original Message-----
From: Renee Escalona []
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2001 9:50 AM
Subject: RE: soaking blocks


Soaking our blocks for 10-15 minutes is mostly just routine.  That's just
the time it takes to rough cut our blocks.  Usually by the time we rough cut
40-60 blocks each, everything else is cool and ready to go.  However, some
tissues do require that time on the ice bath.  We cut more than just organ
tissue.  We're a diagnostic lab so aside from necropsies, we receive all
sorts of "lumps and bumps", bones, and not to mention shrimp and fish as
well.  So, a lot of that stuff just doesn't cooperate in less it has that
time on the ice.

Renee Escalona, BS, HTL(ASCP)
Diagnostic Laboratory Supervisor
Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab
College Station, TX  

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