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General Embedding Considerations

Before delving into the specific techniques, a few things should be considered with regards to general tissue embedding.
  1. The paraffin of choice should have a similar hardness to that of the tissue being embedded.
  2. Melted paraffin should be kept 2-4 degrees Celsius above its melting point; higher temperatures may separate the paraffin components, resulting in difficult ribboning.
  3. Cold plate temperature should be set between 3° C and -5º C.
  4. One cassette should be embedded at a time to prevent accidental transfer between cassettes.
  5. Forceps and molds should be clean and kept warm. Wiping forceps clean between specimens is advised.
  6. The grossing information should be referenced for the number of tissue pieces submitted as well as special instructions.
  7. Tissue should be embedded in the center of the mold, diagonally, and in an organized line (not randomly).
  8. The epidermis of all tissue pieces should face in the same direction in the mold, as shown in the drawing.
  9. Excisions, cyst cross-sections, and large tissue pieces should be embedded flat, with light pressure being applied over the tissue so that complete sections can be obtained during ribboning.
  10. Embedded tissue should be chilled rapidly on a cold plate to ensure strong paraffin support and adhesion around the tissue.