Re: Breast tissue processing

In a message dated 10/11/00 7:02:40 PM, writes:

<< Hello!  I work at a small clinic that gets mostly biopsies with an

occasional surgical, and we are having a problem with the breast specimens

that we get once a week or so.  They usually get to us late in the day (3PM

or later) and the pathologists say that they cannot get thin sections

because the specimens are not well fixed, but want to put them through the

same day to keep turnaround time short. I am trying to find out how other

hospitals handle their breast or other fatty cases (ie fixation times,

processing schedule) in order to find out where our problems are, and how to

solve them.  Thank you for any advice or information that you can give me!


We make a product called Dissect Aid.  Dissect Aid is a special  fixative for 
easier, quicker lymph node recovery. It turns lymph nodes white in the 
surrounding tissue mass making them simple to find. Since Dissect Aid fixes 
and dehydrates simultaneously, it will also firm up fatty tissues making them 
easier to handle. Paraffin infiltration is quick and complete. Routine H & E 
and special stains, including immunoperoxidase, work well with tissues fixed 
in Dissect Aid. 

The following a suggested methodolgy for the use of Dissect Aid. 

Dissect Aid 
Suggested Methodology

Types of Specimens best suited for Dissect Aid:

    a. Lymph node embedded sections
    b. Fatty sections
    c. Kidney
    d. Breast
    e. Colon
    f.  other similar tissue samples

When to use Dissect Aid: 

Dissect Aid should be used on fresh tissue section during or just after gross 
You may wish to remove some lymph nodes for immediate fixation and processing 
before gross pathology.  

Fixation Time:

The smaller the section, the faster the fixation. Although radical cases may 
be  fixed whole,
they will fix more rapidly if small cuts are made into the tissue or if the 
tissue has been
breadloafed.  Place the tissue in a container and cover with Dissect Aid.  We 
recommend that 10 times the volume of fixative to tissue ratio be used.  
Specimens that have  been breadloafed or sliced through should fix within 3-4 
hours. Entire radical sections ( such as radical breast or  colon) may be 
fixed overnight.  

Post Fixation:

After fixation, sections should be rinsed thoroughly in running water for at 
least 1 to 2 minutes. Processing is routine once fixation has occurred.  
Specimens may be transferred to 10% Neutral Buffered Formalin ( or other 
suitable fixative ) for long term storage. 


Dissect Aid contains alcohol, water, formaldehyde and glacial acetic acid. It 
will fix just like 10% Neutral Buffered Formalin. It will also firm up the 
ancillary fat in lymph node embedded tissue. Lastly, it will turn all lymph 
nodes a pale white so that they stand out in the surrounding tissue mass. 

If you have any questions or would like to speak with a colleague who uses 
Dissect Aid, please call 1-800-428-5856.

Best Regards to all :-)

Cliff Berger
Decal Chemical Corp

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