[Histonet] Re: fixative recommendation

From:"Robert Richmond"

Jacqui Detmar is >>posting this question on behalf of a colleague.
She would like to start archiving human placenta tissue and was
wondering what would be an ideal fixative.<< and John Kiernan notes -
as he and I are always noting - that choosing a fixative with a secret
composition isn't a good idea.

If a working surgical pathologist from the country with 5% of the
world's population and 75% of the world's lawyers may suggest: What
we're doing here is archiving tissue for twenty years, since a lawsuit
against the obstetrician may be filed until the child reaches
majority, and then some. (If your kid flunks out of college, sue the

Certainly paraffin embedding (without cutting sections) would be the
safest way to go, and would probably result in the smallest volume of
material you had to store.

Alternatively you might fix the tissue in neutral buffered formalin
(after dissection of the specimen), wash the formaldehyde out, and
store the tissue in 70% alcohol. You could then seal the tissue into
plastic bags (can't remember the plastic - may have been PVC). I've
seen archival autopsy tissue stored like this, and be recoverable
after decades.

Of course - in the USA anyway - all this work would get you and the
pathologist paid only the low fee for a gross examination. Since most
of the pathologist's time is spent grossing the specimen rather than
doing the microscopy, archiving tissue without preparing slides makes
sense only if the pathologist's time is reckoned as being worth

Which of course is usually the case.

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist (and always reluctant placentologist)
Knoxville TN

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