Fixation on Histology

Tips We Didn’t Find in Textbooks

We, histology laboratory professionals, through various actions behind histology—procedures and stains, apply a problem-solving mentality in the lab every day. Our problem-solving strategies are important, but not often mentioned in the textbooks we studied. 

Broken Slides
One day a slide broke suddenly from the plate while I was taking it to the pathologist. It was the only slide made for the patient (all embedded), so I was really worried about what to do next as the human tissue sample is the most precious and difficult to collect again. My supervisor made me calm and showed me how to repair it. He brought the pieces and assembled them. He then put the assembled broken slide on the new clean slide that contained a few drops of DPX. The broken slide was allowed to adhere to the clean slide and then dry.  When dried, even though, there were two adhered slides, the refractive index under the microscope was the same as that of the former solving our problem and not requiring a new tissue sample.

Resource Limited Labs
In resource-limited laboratories, we use one slide to make a smear for 3 slides of smear preparation. One is the bottom (width) side and twice by the length side.  Moreover, we wash and reuse the biopsy containers to reduce unnecessary expenses. It is also possible to make a box of microscopic slides to store stained slides either for temporary or permanent use.  How many of us prepare the cleaning and maintenance log sheet that is provided by the manufacturer manual and use it as a record sheet? If you are not, you can.

Cold Plate Out of Order
Whenever the Cryo- console (cold plate) is out of order, we can use the freezer part of the refrigerator.  We remove the ice box from the freezer and use it as a cold plate for embedding.  It is a temporary solution, but it prevents us from having to stop work until the cold plate is fixed. 

The only way to gain professional experience that you may not find at school and in textbooks is by having time or discussion with experienced colleagues. The ideal place, I believe, is the home of NSH. At this home, there are rooms called The Block, Fixation on Histology, and most of all webinars where well- experienced professionals are found. 

Do you have a troubleshooting tip you can share?  Place it in the comments.


  • Chapman CM. Troubleshooting in the histology laboratory. J Histotechnol. 2019; 42(3):137-149
  • MediaLab LabCE, Troubleshooting Processing Problems,2023; available at URL [ ooting_processing_problems.aspx]
  • Findik S, Cihan FG. Pathology awareness in patients and patients’ relatives applying to a pathology laboratory. Saudi Med J. 2019; 40(11):1150-1157

Written By: Giorgis Yeabyo, BS, MS, HTL (ASCP)

1 comment



02-26-2023 11:16

Good tips for all Histologist to learn from.