|Publication number||US3411185 A|
|Publication date||Nov 19, 1968|
|Filing date||Jun 6, 1966|
|Priority date||Jun 6, 1966|
|Publication number||US 3411185 A, US 3411185A, US-A-3411185, US3411185 A, US3411185A|
|Inventors||Pickett John E P|
|Original Assignee||John E.P. Pickett|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (3), Referenced by (17), Classifications (13)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
Nov. 19, 1968 J. E. P. PICKETT COMPOSITE HISTOLOGIC TISSUE RECEPTACLE Filed June 6, 1966 FIG. 7
INVENTOR. John E. F? Pickett AT TOR NEY United States Patent 3,411,185 COMPOSITE HISTOLOGIC TISSUE RECEPTACLE John E. P. liclrett, 3323 Pinafore Drive, Durham, NC. 27705 Filed June 6, 1966, Ser. No. 555,630 7 Claims. (CI. 18-34) This invention relates to a histological tissue receptacle and, more particularly, to a composite histological tissue receptacle which serves as a means for holding tissue during processing and also as a mold for housing tissue embedded in a paraffin body preparatory to mounting in a rnicrotome.
In the preparation of tissue for examination by a pathologist as taught by the prior art, a specimen of the tissue is placed in a receptacle such as the one taught by US. Patent No. 3,128,902 and is passed through several processing liquids such as alcohol, xylene, liquid paraffin and the like. The tissue specimen is then required to be removed from the receptacle and placed in a separate embedding box which is filled with liquid paraffin and is allowed to cool. An embeddin box of this type may be one as taught by US. Patent No. 2,996,762 and such an embedding box is adapted to be placed in a microtome Where the tissue specimen is microscopically sectioned. More specifically, the tissue receptacle of the type commonly in use is comprised of two engaging circular perforated discs which hold the tissue specimen during processing and according to the nature of the discs, the discs are either disposed of after use or are cleaned for reuse. One embedding box in general use is comprised of a rectangular boat receptacle and a matching box which is adapted to be received by the microtome vise. Because of various ribs and other obstructions in the box, the specimen is first positioned in the boat and the box is then placed on the boat. The boat and box are not connected but become secured together through the hardened parafiin. The rectangular boat is removed from the box after the paraffin has hardened and may be discarded while the matching box in which the parafiin tissue block remains may have sections cut from it, then cataloged and filed for future reference.
It is imperative that each tissue carrier must be labeled correctly in order to prevent serious error and it can be seen that in the prior art process, the tissue receptacle must first be labelled and this label or indica later be transferred to the embedding box. To date, except for labelled paper tags that may be lost or defaced there has been no practical means for labelling a specific, tissue specimen only once such that the same label can follow the tissue specimen through the various processing and embedding steps.
Furthermore, the process of transferring the tissue specimen from the tissue receptacle to the embedding box is time-consuming and inefficient. The difference in structure of the conventional tissue receptacle and embedding box prevents their being used together as a composite unit. Also, since portions of these tissue carriers are adapted to be disposable, an expensive waste of material results and since the portions which are reusable are unduly multiplied, an economic loss occurs by having to clean these unnecessary elements. A further loss of time results in not bein able to load the boat through the top of the box and in not being able to handle the boat and box as a unit. It has also been observed that the plastic materials conventionally employed in the embedding boxes will chemically react when placed in various of the solutions commonly used in processing.
From the foregoing it can be seen that the art would be considerably advanced if a tissue carrier were provided which could go through all of the processing and embedding steps and which combined the functions of the tissue receptacle and the embedding box for the duplication of like parts would be eliminated and the time and economic losses would be reduced to a minimum.
Therefore, an object of this invention is to provide a composite histologic tissue receptacle and embedding structure which is economical to manufacture and to use.
Another object of this invention is to provide acomposite histological tissue carrier with a disposable rectangular boat receptacle which is adapted to receive a tissue specimen during processing and which may be easily removed from the embedding structure after the tissue specimen has been embedded in solidified paraflin.
A further object of this invention is to provide a composite histologic tissue carrier with a removable, perforated lid which is adapted to be releasably secured to the embedding structure.
Still another object of this invention is to provide a composite histologic tissue carrier with an embedding structure which has a body portion that is adapted to be quickly and easily clamped in the head of a microtome.
Yet a further object of this invention is to provide a composite histologic tissue carrier With an embedding structure which is provided with means for receiving a detachable perforated lid which does not interfere with the insertion thereof into a microtome.
Still another object of this invention is to provide a composite histologic tissue carrier with an embedding structure which has a portion of its frame adapted to receive identification indicia.
Another object of this invention is to provide a composite histologic tissue carrier which can be filed in conventional size tissue file drawers.
Other objects and advantages of this invention will become apparent when the following detailed description is 'read in conjunction with the appended drawings and claims. A preferred embodiment of this invention will now be described with reference to the accompanyin drawings, in which:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of the composite histologic tissue carrier showing the various elements in an interconnected relationship;
FIGURE 2 is a perspective view of the perforated top;
FIGURE 3 is a section view taken along lines 3-3 of FIGURE 2 and showing the elements adapted to clasp the embedding structure;
FIGURE 4 is a perspective view of the embedding structure showing the indicia receiving surface;
FIGURE 5 is a section view taken along lines 55 of FIGURE 4 and showing the elements for securing the other components thereto;
FIGURE 6 is a perspective view of the boat receptacle showing the tab and fracture grooves;
FIGURE 7 is a section view taken along lines 77 of FIGURE 6 and showing the clasping rim;
FIGURE 8 is a perspective view of the embedding structure mounting a tissue specimen in a body of paraffin and illustrating how the boat receptacle is removed therefrom; and
FIGURE 9 is a perspective view of the embedding structure showing the same having received a tissue specimen embedded in solidified paraffin and having been clamped in a microtome for slicing.
One embodiment of the present invention includes the combination of an embedding box having a pair of open and opposed sides, a removable perforated top adapted to enclose one of the open sides and a removable boat receptacle which selectively encloses the other of the open sides. The boat receptacle is shaped substantially like a rectangular open topped box having one substantially flat surface and is provided with an inwardly projecting clasping rim which adapts it to be secured on the embedding box. The boat receptacle is also preferably provided with a tap and a pair of fracture seams which extend from the tab and which adapt the boat receptacle to be ruptured in a selected direction for removal from the embedding box. The top, embedding box and boat receptacle can be made from a wide choice of materials and sufficiently cheap to provide a single-use disposable structure if desired. Polypropylene is suitable for the top and embedding box and thin aluminum sheet is desirable for the boat receptacle. All of these materials are suited to the various solutions. Aluminum has excellent tear and heat transfer characteristics and the polypropylene will receive a graphite marking indicia.
The embedding box is rectangular in cross-section and includes four perpendicular and interconnecting walls which are circumscribed by an integral and laterally extending flange. The width and length of the box are preferably limited to about one and one-half inches long by one inch wide by five-eighths inch deep in order to utilize conventional tissue file drawers. One surface of the flange is etched and is adapted to receive indicia by means of an ordinary pencil. One end of the embedding box is provided with an outwardly and laterally projecting lip which cooperates with the rim of the boat receptacle to hold the boat receptacle thereon. The other end of the embedding box includes an outer circumferentially arranged groove which is designed to receive an inwardly positioned flange which is an integral part of the perforated top. The perforated top consists of a perforated rectangularly shaped surface and outwardly projecting, perpendicular sides which in combination with the perforated surface form a shallow, open ended box-like structure.
As contemplated by this invention, a method of embedding a tissue specimen in a body of paratfin as part of a finished unit and mounting the unit in the vice of a microtome is as follows:
A tissue specimen, which is to be pathologically examined, is positioned in an open-topped boat receptacle. The boat receptacle is connected to one open end of an embedding box and a perforated top is snapped onto the other open end thereof. The serial number of the tissue specimen is marked by means of a graphite pencil or the like onto an etched surface of a laterally extending flange which circumscribes the embedding box. The tissue specimen is now conditioned for the first fixative step which prevents autolization of the tissue specimen and prepares the tissue specimen to be embedded in a paraffin body. The composite tissue carrier is placed sequentially into various treating liquids such as alcohol, xylene and finally into a parafiin bath whereupon quantities of the paraffin are transferred by osmosis into the tissue cells. Also, a thin film of paraflin coats the bottom surface of the boat receptacle and while the parafiin .is still slightly tacky, the perforated top is removed and the tissue sample is repositioned on the flat bottom surface of the boat receptacle and the paraflin is allowed to harden so that the precise plane of the tissue specimen along which it is to be severed is presented to the cutting blade of the microtome. As an alternative, the thin coating of paraffin clinging to the bottom surface of the boat receptacle may be allowed to harden and may be reheated at a later time whereupon the tissue specimen may be positioned thereon. In either case if the boat receptacle is made of thin aluminum sheet rather than the conventional plastics the paraffin will cool almost instantaneously when the boat receptacle is placed on a cool surface.
The positioning of the specimen is most important for frequently the only means for determining the malignancy of tissue is by properly selecting the plane of severance. After the tissue specimen has been selectively positioned in the boat receptacle, melted parafiin is poured into the boat receptacle through the open end of the embedding box at a level which is substantially adjacent that open end thus completely embedding the tissue specimen after accounting for the shrinkage of the paraffin upon solidification. The paraflin is allowed to cool and the cooling may be hastened by placing the boat and box on a cold surface. After the paraflin has hardened and approaches room temperature, the boat receptacle is removed by manually grasping the tab and tearing the surfaces of the boat receptacle along the fracture grooves. Thus, the finished unit remains which includes the embedding box having the written indicia thereon and the tissue specimen embedded in the paraffin body with its selected surface adjacent the exposed surface of the paraffin which was originally adjacent the bottom flat surface of the boat receptacle before its removal. Upon removal of the boat receptacle, the embedding box is adapted to be placed in the vice of the microtome. Once selected tissue sections have been carved from the exposed portions of the paraffin body and tissue specimen, the embedding box may be filed for future reference and by properly selecting the size of the box such filing may be accomplished in conventional file drawers.
The invention is illustrated in connection with the accompanying drawings in which the figures are illustrative of the preferred embodiment of the invention.
The first element of this three part tissue carrier 9 is a perforated top 10 which includes a substantially rectangular plate 11 and perpendicularly extending sides 13, 14, 15 and 16. Sides 13, 14, 15 and 16 are integrally connected to plate 11 along selected edges thereof and each selected side interconnects with two adjacent sides at right angles to form, in combination with plate 11, an open ended rectangular box. Since perforated top 10 serves to admit the various process fluids and the liquid paraflin into tissue carrier 9, plate 11 is provided with a plurality of openings 17 through which the various liquids may pass. Perforated top 10 is adapted to be removable by providing sides 13, 14, 1.5 and 16 with an inwardly projecting flange 19 which is an integral extension of the exposed edges of sides 13, 14, 15 and 16 and which operates as later described. Perforated top 10 is molded or stamped from a thin resilient plastic such as polypropylene or metal such as aluminum which is inert to the various processing liquids and which will withstand temperatures in the range of C. Further, it is contemplated that top 10 will be cheap and disposable.
The second element of tissue carrier 9 is an embedding box 20 which is essentially comprised of four integrally connecting walls 21, 22, 23 and 24 which intersect at right angles to form an open ended box which is rectangular in cross-section. An inwardly projecting flange 18 is provided to assist in locking the molded paraffin to box 20. Flange 18 is narrow in order to preserve a maximum work area in box 20 and to preserve the unobstructed character of the box interior through which the specimen may be positioned. Walls 21, 22, 23 and 24 should preferably be roughened for the same purpose. Adjacent one end and on the outer surfaces thereof, walls 21, 22, 23 and 24 form an outer, circumferentially extending groove 25 which is adapted to receive flange 19 of perforated top 10. The inner dimensions of flange 19 are made slightly smaller than the outer dimensions of box-shaped walls 21, 22, 23 and 24 and are substantially equal to the inner surfaces of groove 25 which allows the perforated top 10 to be securely held on that selected end of embedding box 20 by the seating of flange 19 in groove 25. The resiliency of perforated top 10 allows the same to be pried from embedding box 20 without permanently distorting either perforated top 10 or embedding box 20. Embedding box 20 by being provided with countersunk groove 25 to receive flange 19 is adapted to be inserted into vice 26 of microtome 27 without the hindrance of pendant obstructions.
Embedding box 20 is further provided with an integrally and laterally extending flange 28 which extends around walls 21, 22, 23 and 24 and is perpendicular thereto. The width X and length Y should as previously mentioned be in the order of one inch and one and fiveeighths inches respectively in order that the carrier of this invention may utilize the conventional size tissue file drawers. This size is also convenient to the general requirements of the invention. Flange 28 serves to seat against vice 26 when embedding box is inserted into microtome 27 thus maintaining uniformity in the cutting of sections from the exposed paraffin and tissue specimen. Also, flange 28 is provided with an etched surface 29 which is adapted to receive coded indicia supplied thereto by means of an ordinary graphite pencil. Since embedding box 20 is carried through every stage of the process, the indicia once recorded on etched surface 29 do not need to be transferred thereafter, thus reducing to the minimum the human errors which invariably arise during the copying of numbers. It has been found that a marking of this kind will carry through all of the steps of processing. The other end of walls 21, 22, 23 and 24 is provided with an outwardly extending lip 39 (its function to be explained hereinafter) which is an integral continuation of the exposed edges of walls 21, 22, 23 and 24. Embedding box 20 while it does not necessarily have to be resilient should not be brittle and should be able to withstand the same processing fluids and the same temperatures as were previously discussed in connection with perforated top 10. It further should be relatively sturdy and rigid for clamping purposes and the choice of material used for box 20 should be selected accordingly.
The last element comprising tissue carrier 9 is boat receptacle 35 which is preferably made from thin aluminum sheeting or some other tearable and heat conductive material which is impervious and inert to the processing fluids and the elevated temperatures. Use of a material having a high thermal conductivity insures that the paraflin will first harden in the area adjacent the boat receptacle and thus will fixedly position the tissue. Boat receptacle 35 includes a bottom wall 36 and side walls 37, 38, 39 and 40 which are perpendicularly arranged with respect to bottom wall 36 and in combination with bottom wall 36 form a rectangular open ended box. The exposed edges of side walls 37, 38, 39 and 40 are provided with an inwardly extending and continuous rim 41. Rim 41 is adapted to reside in furrow 34 which is defined by lip and flange 28 of embedding box 20 and to securely position boat receptacle on embedding box 20 after the same has been snapped thereon. A hole 47 is suitably located in bottom wall 36 to provide for the escape of the process liquids and particularly to allow the escape of liquids if the carrier is accidentally inverted. Hole 47 does not permit however the exit of the molten paraflin for boat receptacle 35 is adapted to transmit heat readily and upon the placement thereof on a cold surface, hole 47 becomes clogged with solidified paraflin thereby preventing the draining of the melted paraffin therefrom. While only one hole 47 is illustrated a plurality of small holes may be employed.
Boat receptacle 35 is further preferably provided with a tab 42 which is integral with and extends outwardly from side wall 39 and with a pair of fracture grooves 43 and 44 which extend in parallel alignment from tab 42 down side wall 39 and across bottom wall 36. Thus, after boat receptacle 35 and embedding box 20 have been filled with paraifin, which is allowed to cool, boat receptacle 35 may be removed from embedding box 20 by manually grasping tab 42 and tearing side wall 39 and bottom wall 36 along fracture grooves 43 and 44 to expose the embedded tissue specimen and to facilitate removal of the remaining portions of receptacle 35.
It is contemplated that the quantity of paraffin exposed by the removal of boat receptacle 35 may be varied to accommodate the optimum range of specimens; therefore, inserts 45 and 46, which are variable in size to fit each individual need, are adapted to be wedged into boat receptacle 35 between opposed walls 38 and 40. It is noted that the face of the exposed paraflin body as shown in FIGURE 8 is rectangular and when inserts and 46 are employed, the exposed parafl'in body resulting therefrom is also rectangular in shape. It is necessary to present a rectangular surface to the cutting blade of the microtome in order to achieve a uniformity upon slicing for a rectangular slice or section always tends to curl in the same direction whereas a circular slice tends to curl both in the direction of the blade and in the opposite direction.
While the preferred embodiment of the invention has been dis-closed, it is to be understood that changes and variations may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention and the invention is to be limited only by the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A tissue carrier which includes in the same composite structure means for receiving permanent indicia to identify a selected histologic tissue specimen, means for containing such specimen during processing through the usual processing fluids and prior to mounting, means for providing a temporary removable mold in which the specimen may be selectively positioned following processing and then embedded in a molten paraffin type medium and cooled to provide a tissue block and means for holding the embedded tissue block in a microtome vice, said carrier comprising:
(a) a rectangular boat receptacle having a substantially flat bottom wall, side Walls integral with said bottom wall and an open top, said bottom wall including at least one hole for draining said fluids, said walls being substantially thin and formed of a thermal conductive material which is chemically inert to said fluids and releasable when cooled from said medium, the size of said receptacle corresponding to the desired size of said block;
(b) a rectangular embedding box having integral side walls, an open top and bottom, a first integral flange extending outwardly from said box side walls in a plane between and parallel to the plane of said box top and bottom and a second substantially narrow integral flange extending inwardly from said box side walls in a plane between and parallel to the plane of said box top and bottom, said first flange including at least one upper surface sized and adapted to receive permanent indicia marking thereon and being further adapted to locate said box with respect to and when mounted in said vice, said second flange being adapted to lock the said block to said box when cooled after being formed therein from said medium, said receptacle being detachably secured to said box whereby to provide a composite rectangular substantially unobstructed container in which the said side walls of said box form a continuation of the said side walls of said receptacle, said box being formed of a substantially rigid material which is adpted to being clamped in said vice and is chemically inert to said fluids; and
(c) a top cover having a plurality of holes suited to draining said fluids, said cover being detachably secured to and being effective to cover the said tOp of said box, said cover being formed of a material which is chemically inert to said fluids;
said detachable cover in combination with said detachable receptacle and box thereby providing said means for containing and processing said specimen, said detachable receptacle providing said mold means and said box providing said indicia receiving and block holding means.
2. In a composite tissue carrier as claimed in claim 1 wherein:
(a) said side walls of said receptacle form an inwardly extending rim adjacent the said top of said receptacle;
(b) said cover includes downwardly projecting integral side walls and an inwardly projecting rim formed therein; and
(c) said side walls of said box include at the said top and bottomthereof grooves extending around the periphery thereof, said grooves being adapted to respectively detachably receive said receptacle rim and said cover rim.
3. In a composite tissue carrier as claimed in claim 2 wherein said box first flange surface is etched and adapted to receive a graphite type marking pencil.
4. The composite tissue carrier of claim 3 wherein said boat receptacle material i adapted to being torn and said receptacle is provided with a tab extending outwardly from the exposed edge of a selected side wall and a plurality of fracture grooves incorporated in said selected side wall and said bottom wall, said-fracture grooves being an extension of the edges of said tab whereby upon the manual pulling on said tab, said boat receptacle is torn along said fracture grooves.
5. The composite tissue carrier of claim 4 wherein said boat receptacle is provided with at least one insert filler whereby said block may be formed in a size smaller than the size of said receptacle.
6. A tissue carrier which includes in the same composite structure means for receiving permanent indicia to identify a selected histologic tissue specimen, means for containing such specimen during processing through the usual processing fluids and prior to mounting, means for providing a temporary removable mold in which the specimen may be selectively positioned following processing and then embedded in a molten paraflin type medium and cooled to provide a tissue block and means for holding the embedded tissue block in a microtome vice and after cutting for covering the block during storage, said carrier comprising:
(a) a rectangular boat receptacle having a substantially flat bottom wall, side walls integral with said bottom wall and an open top, said walls being substantially thin and formed of a thermal conductive material which is chemically inert to said fluids and releasable when cooled from said medium, the size of said receptacle corresponding to the desired size of said block;
(b) a rectangular embedding box having integral side walls, an open top and bottom, said box exterior walls having a surface configuration adapted to lock the said block to said box when cooled after being formed therein from said medium, said receptacle when secured to said box providing a composite rectangular substantially unobstructed container in which the said side walls of said box form a continuation of the said side walls of said receptacle, said box being formed of a substantially rigid material which is adapted to being clamped in said vice and is chemically inert to said fluids;
(c) a top cover having a plurality of holes suited to draining said fluids, said cover being adapted for securing to and covering the said top of said box, said cover being formed of a material which is chemically inert to said fluids; and
(d) means operatively associated with said receptacle, box and cover for detachably securing said boat receptacle, box, and top cover to provide said container;
said detachable cover in combination with said detachable receptacle and box thereby providing said means for containing and processing said specimen, said detachable receptacle and box providing said mold means during molding and block protective means during storage and said box providing said indicia receiving and block holding means.
7. A two part tissue handling tructure which provides means for receiving permanent indicia to identify a selected histologic tissue specimen, means for providing a partially removable mold in which the specimen may be selectively positioned following processing and then embedded in a molten paraflin type medium and cooled to provide a tissue block, means for holding the embedded tissue block in a microtome vice and, after cutting, means for covering the block during storage, said structure comprising:
(a) a rectangular boat receptacle having a substantially flat bottom wall, side walls integral with said bottom wall and an open top, said bottom wall being substantially thin and said walls being formed of a thermal conductive material which is releasable from said medium when cooled and which material exhibits sufiicient resiliency to adapt said top to snapfit connection, the size of said receptacle corresponding to the desired size of said block;
(b) a rectangular embedding box having integral side walls, an open top and bottom, said box interior walls, having a surface configuration adapted to lock the said block to said box when cooled after being formed therein from said medium, said receptacle and box having mating snap-fit edge connections providing a composite rectangular substantially unobstructed unitary container in which the said side walls of said box form a continuation of the said side walls of said receptacle, said box being formed of a material which is sufliciently rigid to adapt said box to being clamped in said vice while retaining such resiliency as is required to elfect said snap-fit connections;
said receptacle in combination with said box thereby providing means for molding said block, for cooling said medium through said receptacle bottom wall, for hold ing said block in said vice while said receptacle is removed, and with said receptacle resecured following cutting for protecting said block during storage.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,437,713 3/1948 Tannenberg l834 2,996,762 8/1961 McCormick l834 3,014,614 12/1961 Carroll et a1. 18-34 J. HOWARD FLINT JR., Primary Examiner.
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|U.S. Classification||425/117, 249/83, 425/195, 269/7|
|International Classification||G01N1/36, G01N1/30, G01N1/31, B23Q3/08|
|Cooperative Classification||B23Q3/086, G01N2001/315, G01N1/36|
|European Classification||B23Q3/08F, G01N1/36|