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

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Electrolytic Methods

Electrolytic methods are slightly more complex and are rarely used in pathology laboratories today. In this method, the bone is attached to an electrode (positive pole) and placed in an acid decalcifier (formic acid/ HCl). An electric current is applied and calcium that is released from the bone attaches to the cathode (negative pole). Although this process is rapid, only one specimen can be decalcified at a time, limiting its use to specialty and research histology laboratories. Another drawback is the heat generated by the current may also damage tissue and affect staining.