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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Basic Tissue Orientation and Paraffin Embedding Technique. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Purposes Accomplished by the Embedding Task

  1. The paraffin provides a means to secure the specimen in a specific 3-D orientation for demonstration of specific surfaces and features which are important for diagnosis on the final microscopic slide.
  2. The paraffin itself provides support to the microstructure and morphology of the tissue section by infiltrating in the molten state within these components. When the paraffin hardens into its crystalline matrix, it supports these structures to reduce the distortion caused by resistance that occurs as they meet the microtome blade.
  3. In its solidified state, the hardened wax provides a means of securing the specimen identification information transcribed on the tissue cassette to the hardened block containing the tissue specimen.
  4. The hardened wax provides some protection for the specimen during long term block storage.