Cervical tissue shrinkage by formaldehyde fixation, paraffin wax embedding, section cutting and mounting
To evaluate the efficacy of cryocoagulation as a treatment for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (C.I.N.), it is necessary to know the maximum depth of the glandular crypts, the maximum crypt involvement by C.I.N. and the extension of the cryolesion, obtained under standardized conditions. In a morphometric study on this subject, one has to take into account the shrinkage of the cervical tissue, caused by processing the tissue for histological examination.
In the present study, tissue shrinkage of the cervix in different directions was measured in three separate steps. First shrinkage caused by formalin fixation was determined, second shrinkage caused by dehydration, clearing and paraffin wax embedding and finally that caused by section cutting and mounting.
Shrinkage caused by formalin fixation, and by dehydration, clearing and paraffin wax embedding did not differ significantly in the different directions and resulted in an average shrinkage of respectively 2.7% and 12.6% of the original dimensions. The alterations of the dimensions by section cutting and mounting is not a process of shrinkage, but actually a deformation caused by pressure on the tissue during sectioning. Generally the dimension decreases in the cutting direction and increases in the direction perpendicular to it. In the calculation of the total shrinkage these alterations can be neglected, since the changes, although not consistent are small.
It follows that in morphometric studies a total shrinkage of about 15% of the original dimensions has to be taken into consideration.
Key-wordsCervix uteri Shrinkage Histological technics Formaldehyde Paraffin Sectioning-mounting
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