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What is a rotary microtome and what is it typically used for?

A rotary microtome is a type of microtome that cuts thin sections by moving the sample up and down across a cutting knife. The samples are usually held in a specimen head. The up-and-down movement of the specimen head is controlled by a handwheel—hence that “rotary” name! Rotary microtomes are typically used for cutting tissue samples embedded in paraffin wax. These are usually tissues obtained from surgical biopsies for histopathological analysis. Thus, rotary microtomes are commonly used in histology and pathology studies.