Tissue Decalcification for Paraffin Processing (Online CE Course)

(based on 127 customer ratings)

Author: Diana Harrington, BS, HT(ASCP)
Reviewers: Carla Shoffeitt, MSM, HT(ASCP); Rosemarie Tavares Proulx, BA, CT(ASCP), HT(ASCP)CM

This course aims to simplify the decalcification process and provide useful techniques to work with calcified tissue successfully.

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Continuing Education Credits

P.A.C.E.® Contact Hours (acceptable for AMT, ASCP, and state recertification): 1 hour(s)
Approved through 8/31/2024
Approved through 8/31/2024


  • Define the bone types and their composition.
  • Describe techniques used to remove mineral from bone or other calcified tissue.
  • Determine the end-point of decalcification based on the method used.
  • Identify troubleshooting strategies used when unexpected calcium is revealed or if tissue is under- or over-decalcified.

Customer Ratings

(based on 127 customer ratings)

Course Outline

Click on the links below to preview selected pages from this course.
  • Overview
      • Tissue Decalcification for Paraffin Processing
  • Bone
      • Bone Types
      • Bone Composition
      • Bone Cells
      • Bone is primarily comprised of what mineral?
  • Fixation of Calcified Tissue
      • Fixation of Calcified Tissue
      • Fixation of Calcified Tissue, continued
      • Incomplete fixation of specimens prior to decalcification will affect staining quality.
  • Methods Used to Decalcify Tissue
      • Decalcification Methods Using Acids
      • Strong Mineral Acids
      • Weak Organic Acids
      • Chelation With EDTA
      • Electrolytic Methods
      • Match the following decalcification acids with the correct classification as either a strong mineral acid or weak organic acid.
      • Which acid is commonly combined with formalin in order to fix and decalcify tissue simultaneously?
  • Determining the End-Point of Decalcification
  • Troubleshooting Calcified Tissue
      • Surface Decalcification
      • Inadequate Decalcification
      • Excessive Decalcification
      • Calcium that was not effectively decalcified stains bright pink with the H&E stain and does not hinder diagnosis rendering.
  • Summary of Decalcification
      • Summary
  • References

Additional Information

Level of instruction: Basic
Intended audience: Clinical laboratory histotechnologists, histotechnicians, and other medical laboratory personnel who have an interest in this subject matter. This course is also appropriate for histology and clinical laboratory science students, pathology residents, and practicing pathologists.
Author information: Diana Harrington, BS, HT(ASCP) is a histotechnologist at The Dermatology Center of Indiana. Since graduating from Indiana University, she has worked in various hospital laboratories as a medical technologist and histotechnologist. Her experience led her to teach IU students as a Clinical Education Supervisor and create the Histotechnology Program as Program Director for Keiser University in Florida.
Reviewer information: Carla J. Shoffeitt, MSM, HT(ASCP) is the Manager of the Pathology Department of Emory St. Joseph’s Hospital of Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, Georgia. She holds a Master of Science Degree in Healthcare Management as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Troy University, Troy, Alabama. She is certified as a Histotechnician and has 25 years of experience in the field of Histology.
Reviewer information: Rosemarie Tavares Proulx, BA, CT(ASCP), HT(ASCP)CM has over 20 years of experience as a laboratorian, anatomic pathology supervisor, and laboratory manager. She is the former Anatomic Pathology Laboratory Manager at Boston Children's Hospital She is currently the Educational Coordinator for the Histotechnician Program at the Community College of Rhode Island.
Course description: This course aims to simplify the decalcification process and provide useful techniques to work with calcified tissue successfully.

Properly decalcified bone

Poorly decalcified bone

Major components of bone

Properly/Poorly decalcified bone