Tips and Tricks

In this section, there will be various practice and business tips to share.  Feel free to submit your own via the “Contact Me” function for review. 

  • Worn out makeup brushes work well as brushes for pulling down your thin frozen sections.  The shorter handles make them easier to manipulate.
  • If your microscope ocular tends to “drift” when your face presses against it, consider wrapping a rubber band around the base of the ocular to hold it in place.
  • When inking tissue for margins, roll the inked applicator tip over the surface like a paint roller.  
  • Then inking fatty tissue for margins, spray a short burst of quick-freez to firm up the fat and the ink does not drift as easily into crevasses.
  • Use a cash-back credit card with a high credit limit in the business’s name to make large payments like healthcare premiums and supply charges.  Then pay it off every month and get cash back.
  • When cutting skin frozen sections, align the section so that you section along the epidermis, not epidermis to fat or visa versa.  This way if there is fat, you at least have a good long section of epidermis.  Also, when sectioning two pieces of skin in one block, place the epidermis parts to the interior and facing each other.  Although the fat may leave holes, the center portion will have both sections of your epidermis to evaluate.
  • When sectioning anything with fat, try to align the fat to one side and do not cut into it first or last.  This way the non-fat tissue will play out in the section and the fat will leave a hole along one side only, allowing you to get some non-fat tissue to evaluate on the slide.
  • For wedges of lung, consider taking the collapsed portion, “reinflating” it with formalin using a small needle and syringe, let it sit for a few hours and then sectioning it.  Beats trying to interpret a collapsed wedge.  Be careful not to “over inflate” the wedge.
  • When setting up the cryostat for a frozen section, place a small drop of cryostat lubricating oil on your glove and rub it on the face of the heat extractor you use to compress and freeze the tissue.  this prevents the tissue from sticking to the heat extractor once it is frozen and ready for sectioning.


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