Histology & Pathology

Histopathology is the study of disease by using a microscope to examine tissues or surgical biopsies that are processed, fixed, sectioned, and plated onto glass slides. Tissue slices are then processed by staining, where different dyes and antibodies help visualize specific components of tissues and proteins. Hematoxylin-Eosin (H&E) staining has been used in pathology for over a century. 

Because histopathology requires extremely fine and thin tissue sections (often down to 5µm or thinner), obtaining consistent sections is crucial for further processing. The process of cutting tissue slices also needs to occur rapidly because serial sections are needed. Therefore, histology and pathology require a rotary microtome that can quickly make high quality thin tissue slices without friction, chattermarks, or inconsistencies.

Common problems with tissue slices for histopathology

H&E stain showing significant chatter artifacts

Tissue specimens for histopathology are typically fixed and embedded in paraffin wax for slicing. This preservation and embedding method allows for long-term storage of tissue samples. However, paraffin wax and other resins are extremely hard, so they require a type of microtome that can adequately cut through hard materials. Furthermore, pathology sections for histology need to be very thin, so a microtome needs to be able to cut tissue slices down to just a few microns–and consistently too! Microtomes also need to be stable so that no chattermarks appear on the surface of tissue slices.

Making better tissue slices for histopathology

Rotary Microtome

Rotary microtomes are used extensively for cutting fixed tissue samples, especially those embedded in paraffin wax or resin. Our rotary microtomes have a specimen head that firmly holds tissue sample cassettes, allowing for stability during cutting. This helps reduce chattermarks and allows for sectioning of tissue slices down to 1µm thickness. The speed of cutting on a rotary microtome also allows you to obtain “ribbons” of consecutive tissue slices, making it easier for plating onto glass slides. Our models are easy-to-use and very intuitive.

Precisionary Rotary Microtomes

Rotary microtomes are routinely used for making paraffin-wax embedded tissue sections for histology and pathology. Because they are used for high volume sectioning, rotary microtomes need to be robust.

Precisionary Instruments offers a full line of high quality rotary microtomes for histopathology, research, and clinical purposes. Our microtomes give you reliable sections over a range of tissue slice thicknesses.

Manual model

RF-600

Semi-automated model

RF-800

Fully automated model

RF-1000

Real lab examples of our microtomes for histology & pathology

See our Rotary Microtome RF-1000 in action!

Our rotary microtome RF-1000 is a fully automated microtome. Check out its keys features, and see it cutting specimen samples in this short video.

References and Protocols

Microtomes from Precisionary Instruments have been used by labs around the world, and cited in hundreds of peer-reviewed publications. Explore these references by experiment, animal model, and organ system. For convenience, we also put together key experimental protocols to help you.