Re: microwave fixation mechanism

Fixation, as you know is the process of stabilizing the proteins.  This can be done via chemical methods, i.e., formalin, etc., or by physical methods, i.e., heat.  The microwave increases the friction of the molecular properties, which produces heat. The heat increases the fixation time because the molecules absorb the microwaves.  The timing and heat used must be monitored very closely and standardized specifically for your needs, the time and temperature varies according to size and types of tissue.  We do not use microwave fixation in our lab, but we do use the microwave for special stains, which greatly increases the turn around time and the pathologists have no complaints about the staining quality.  The microwave has reduced the time of staining, particularly in the silver techniques.  I hope this helps.

Roxanne Soto HT (ASCP)
Wilson Medical Center
Wilson, NC

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