What is a rotary microtome?
Rotary microtomes are commonly used for tissue slices in histology and pathology. These microtomes work through a handwheel that can be rotated, and the handwheel controls the up-and-down movement of the specimen head that holds the tissue sample. The specimen head moves up-and-down over a stable cutting knife to produce thin sections that can be collected and further processed or stained. Here are some advantages of using a vibrating microtome:
- You can cut really thin sections of tissue, down to 1µm! With ultra-thin rotary microtomes, you can go even lower
- Cutting is quick and easy, allowing for high through-put sectioning. This is great when you need to do serial cutting of samples
- You can cut harder materials, like tissue embedded in paraffin-wax, and certain polymers or resins
- Rotary microtomes are easy to operate and clean up
Some disadvantages of vibrating microtomes include:
- Unfortunately, you cannot cut live tissue specimens on a rotary microtome. If you need live tissue slices, you can make it with a Compresstome® vibrating microtome.
- Typically, you can’t make sections that are too thick, because it can lead to cracking of the tissue slice.