[Histonet] Cutting Fat


This is a response to an old question about cutting good sections of fat.  I am a traveling Mohs histotech and also train Mohs histotechs. With Mohs frozen sections, getting sections of fat is paramount. If there is a hole in the fat, then the Mohs surgeon cannot evaluate that area for residual tumor. Mohs techs work hard to get good sections of skin with no holes in the fat.  In my experience, high quality sections of fat can be achieved using liquid nitrogen to cool the fat sufficiently to allow it to cut.  One can use a large swab dipped in liquid nitrogen or a device for freezing warts off commonly used in dermatology offices is very handy.  I have found that the temperature of the cryostat is not as important as the temperature of the fat being cut. Sometimes freezing several times is needed before the fat 'gels'. At that point, it doesn't take much more freezing to get the fat to cut very nicely.  At times it is also helpful to cut the sections thicker, perhaps up to 10 microns.  Once the fat 'gels' the micron setting can be turned down some, if thickness is a problem.  Use of sharp disposible blades is a must. When I cut fatty blocks of skin from the scalp, back, chest, etc, I routinely get excellent sections of fat.

Hope this helps. 

Mickie Johnosn, B.A., HT/HTL(ASCP)
Mohs Histology Temporary Services
Training, Consultation & Vacation 
Relief for Mohs and Clinical Histology.
web-site: www.mohshistotemp.com

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