Troubleshooting: Tissue Processing

In the preparation of paraffin sections for staining, fixation and processing go hand in hand. Proper tissue fixation ensures tissue processing will be effective, and a lab’s chosen processing method may also influence their choice of fixative.1 Errors in the processing stage have the potential to seriously affect staining quality. However, because tissue specimens vary widely in size, type, volume, and fixation method, there can be no universal processing protocol. Laboratory technicians will need to take all individual factors into account when programming processing protocols and should be familiar with the signs of common processing errors.

Overprocessing has created a “parched earth” effect in this tissue section, giving it an appearance similar to dry, cracked earth as pictured on the right.
From Histotechnology: A Self-Instructional Text (p. 69), by Carson, F. L., & Cappellano, C. H., 2009, United States: American Society for Clinical Pathology Press. Copyright 2009

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