Placenta without tears

From:Alex Knisely

Women & Infants' Hospital (Rhode Island) had a protocol that made
placenta-sectioning easy:

The day before's placentas were lined up.

Largish chunks of placenta and the usual "membrane roll" were sampled and
placed in individual small containers of Bouin's fixative.

By the time the seven or eight (or more!) placentas waiting for you in the
morning had been examined and described into the Dictaphone, the chunks
from Placenta 1 were firm enough to cut without any significant difficulty
-- ditto the membrane roll (pull out the Q-Tip handle and slice, null
problemo).  And so it went right on up the line.

I know that some people don't like dealing with picric acid fixatives, but
for crisping up soft mushy tissue, Bouin's worked very well indeed.  A
hat-tip to Don Singer, director of pathology there, for instituting this
assembly line technique:  I don't know if he invented it or adopted it, but
it made the job a lot less tedious. 

Incidental prediction:  The "This is too tough, I can't do it!" researcher
will not have a long career if the minimal demands of fresh-placenta
sectioning make her cave in.

Alex K

Alex Knisely, MD
Consultant Histopathologist
Institute of Liver Studies
King's College Hospital
Denmark Hill
London  SE5 9RS  UK
+44 (0)20 - 7346 - 3125 telefax
+44 (0)20 - 7346 - 4627 office

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