Inks - both ordinary india ink and colored inks - used for marking
histology specimens will usually stay on quite satisfactorily if you
make sure to blot the specimen dry before inking. I never anything to
fix the ink to the specimen. 2% to 5% acetic acid is simple to use if
you or your pathologist want it. Don't use acetone (flammable) or
Bouin's fixative (toxic and messy).
Ink doesn't adhere well to cauterized tissue surfaces. It adheres
reasonably well to cauterized breast tissue, not at all to the
cauterized surfaces of LEEP specimens of the cervix (where the
cauterized surfaces themselves are an adequate guide to the margins
for the microscopist).
Ordinary india ink - most of what the pathologist uses - is easily
bought at artist's or craft supply stores, much cheaper and in more
convenient containers than you get from medical supply houses. When
multiple colors are needed, some people use tattoo inks (cheap, and
available in numerous colors), but most use inks made specially for
this purpose. I prefer the Davidson marking inks (now available from
ordinary lab vendors like whatever Thermo and Cardinal are called this
week. I have no commercial connection to this product.)
Inks dry out and go bad if the containers aren't promptly capped after
use. Pathologists tend to forget this, and the histotech who assists
the pathologist should make sure that the caps are replaced.
The little dye capsules are an abomination - they squirt and flood the
specimen and your clothes with unwanted dye.
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