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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 by infiltrating in the molten state within these components, so that when it 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 to secure the specimen identifying information transcribed to the tissue cassette to the hardened block containing the specimen.
  4. The hardened wax provides some protection for the specimen during long term block storage.