SBPMD Histology Laboratory Manual
Histology Techniques - Embedding
Since water and paraffin do not mix, the first step in embedding with paraffin is to replace the water in the tissues with a solvent that is miscible with paraffin. Following are the steps in paraffin embedding:
Celloidin is dissolved in equal parts of absolute alcohol and ether. The tissue is dehydrated in alcohol in the same way as for paraffin except that it is transferred from absolute alcohol to a dilute solution of celloidin. As the alcohol and ether evaporate, they are replaced by more concentrated celloidin. It is finally hardened in chloroform and stored in 80 percent alcohol. It is a much longer process than paraffin but causes much less shrinkage and distortion. It is used especially in examination of the eye and brain.
Introduction of epoxy embedding media has greatly reduced artifacts due to shrinkage and also has allowed thinner sectioning than was possible with paraffin. The thinner sections (approximately 1 u) may be viewed after staining with the light microscope or may be sectioned thinner and examined by electron microscopy.