[Histonet] Ergonomic woes with microtomy

From:Gayle Callis

We built up the handle of fly wheel and coarse advance wheel with taped on 
bubble wrap.    A tennis ball is fairly large, but some people use bicycle 
handle grips (spongy, thick) which slip over microtome handles easily.  We 
tried racquet balls also, but didn't like the feel although some use them 

Also, do NOT rock the fly wheel when trimming, this causes the wrist to 
bend up and down (watch yourself do this!) and is a unwanted but easily 
avoidable repetitive motion.  Don't say you can't learn to do this, it 
takes only a few times to relearn a new motion. Jan Minshew from Leica 
would agree, she is an ergonomic expert at Leica and teaches this.  Also, 
grasp the handles so you never bend you wrist, hold the handles with palms 
facing the ends rather than grasping the handle like a bicycler.  This 
keeps the wrists rigid and straight for both trimming and sectioning.

No resting arms on counter or get arm rests, use a decent chair, feet 
squarely on floor or use a foot rest, and all tools within easy 
reach.  Replacement of waterbath so it is on an L shaped counter next to 
you rather than next to microtome prevents some unneeded twisting and 
stretching.  Learn to exercise and stretch you hands, fingers, wrists to 
relieve stresses.

This wonderful ergonomic forceps from Surgipath and others (have holes in 
handles) are very easy to use if you find you don't like the forceps that 
have opposition open/close mechanism.

Automated microtomes are wonderful if you can buy one and certainly on our 
wish list.

Good luck
Gayle Callis
Research Histopathology Supervisor
Veterinary Molecular Biology
Montana State University - Bozeman
PO Box 173610
Bozeman MT 59717-3610
406 994-6367
406 994-4303 (FAX)

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