Re: warm water block soak

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From:LuAnn Anderson <> (by way of histonet)
Date:Mon, 31 Jan 2000 22:47:19 -0500
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Responding to the message of <>

I have been a certified histotech for 18 years.  When I went through my
training, we were taught to soak briitle blocks, after facing, in warm water
with a drop of liquid dish soap.  I have used this method routinely and it
quite well.  It works very well for sectioning of large blocks of brain tissue
also.  Face the blocks to a full section, place face down in a shallow dish of
warm water containing one-two drops of liquid dish soap.  Just prior to
sectioning, place the blocks on ice to cool.  When all else fails, try this.
For extremely hard or brittle blocks, use warm water with a few drops of
Ammonium  Hydroxide and soak in the same manner.  I must admit, the fabric
softener suggestion is intriguing!
>LuAnn Anderson,HT
Neuropathology Lab-University of Minnesota

I used the combination of both warm water and ice for brittle and/or bloody
> tissue.  I would place a faced-off block into the flotation bath for about 30
> seconds and then place the block on watery ice.  The softening and
> rehydration
> by warm water and the cooling and continuing rehydration by the watery ice
> made
> sectioning a lot easier and the cell entities sharp.  The hard to cut blocks
> only needed a short time on the ice maybe 3 minutes to chill for easier
> cutting.
> Routinely, all blocks were rough-cut and placed on watery ice before
> sectioning.
> It may seem like it would be timely, but it wasn't in the long run.
> Sectioning
> was a breeze and cellular detail
> was excellent.   In most cases, you can just go right down the row of blocks
> with little problem.
> I don't think I could section blocks without rough cutting them first before
> placing them on ice for a good soak.  It would take me too long to section
> otherwise.
> Rande Kline, HT (ASCP)
> Technical Services
> EM Science
> on 10/27/99 08:16:07 PM
> To:
> cc:    (bcc: Rande Kline/EMI/Merck)
> Subject:  warm water block soak
> Hi everyone,
>     I'm an old war-horse HT working in a small community hospital doing
> routine histology. I'm just curious if anyone else has used a warm water soak
> for their paraffin blocks (after facing) to improve sectioning. I have found
> this technique very helpful in the sectioning of brittle biopsies and bloody
> specimens. The crushed ice and water soak prior to sectioning allows a few
> good sections after soak, but the warm water soak lets us get several ribbons
>  before we encounter dried out tissue. This has cut down on chatter, time
> spent re-soaking and over-all quality of sections.
> Any feedback?
> Maureen Tomblin HT(ASCP)
> Union Hospital
> Elkton, MD
> .

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