What is a vibrating microtome?

A vibrating microtome is a tissue slicer that cuts through samples using a high-frequency oscillating blade. You may hear of vibrating microtomes being referred to as “vibratomes.” Typically, these types of microtomes are used to cut softer tissues, either fixed or live/acute. Here are some advantages of using a vibrating microtome:

    • Can help you make live tissue slices, such as acute mouse brain slices for patch-clamp electrophysiology
    • You don’t have to freeze your tissue or process it in paraffin-wax
    • No risk of lysing cell membranes because there is no freezing process
    • Quick setup for cutting and clean up

Some disadvantages of vibrating microtomes include:

    • Slower to cut than a cryostat or rotary microtome (this is because you need a slow cutting speed for making live tissue slices without damaging live cells)
    • Sections can’t be as thinner than typically 10 µm

How to choose the right vibrating microtome

Don’t worry, we are happy to help you choose the best microtome for your needs! Here are a few questions to consider:

    • Are you slicing live or fixed tissue?
    • What are you embedding your tissue in?
    • How thick or thin do you want your tissue slices?
    • What experiments do you plan to use your tissue slices for?

Based on your answers, you may find these points helpful:

    • If you are slicing live tissue slices, especially for patch-clamp electrophysiology of mouse brains, then you definitely need a vibrating microtome. 
    • If you need to embed your tissue in paraffin wax, then a vibrating microtome won’t work. However, our rotary microtomes will work, so check them out here.
    • If you need to cut thicker slices (50µm to 500µm or more), then a vibrating microtome will work.
    • If you are using tissue slices for electrophysiology, precision-cut tissue slices, organotypic slice cultures, or free-floating immunohistochemistry, then you can use a vibrating microtome.

We’re experts in tissue slicing, so don’t hesitate to ask us your questions!

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Things to consider when buying a vibrating microtome

Vibrating microtomes are a big purchase for a lab, so there are several important factors to think about:

    • Price
    • Tissue slice quality
    • Microtome quality
    • Delivery time
    • Warranty
    • Annual service plan
    • Customer service & support

Here is how Precisionary Instruments can help meet your vibrating microtome needs:

    • Price: Our price for microtomes are competitive. We also price match and beat competitor prices by 10%.
    • Tissue slice quality: We have experimentally demonstrated that our vibrating microtomes produces healthier live tissue slices for electrophysiology, and smoother, more consistent sections for immunohistochemistry.
    • Microtome quality: Our microtomes are made of the highest quality materials and are robust. They will support your experiments for many years.
    • Delivery time: Only takes about 1-2 weeks from receipt of your order for our in-stock microtomes to reach you.
    • Warranty: We offer a full 5-year warranty for Compresstomes®, which covers repairs, parts, labor, and shipping.
    • Annual service plan: At the end of your warranty, we offer annual service agreements to take care of your microtome for years to come.
    • Customer service & support: We are known for excellent customer service and product support. You can reach us quickly by e-mail, phone, WhatsApp, WeChat, and video. You’ll always talk to a real person.