[Histonet] Cost Containment - Blades question
rschoon <@t> email.unc.edu
Tue Dec 23 07:33:24 CST 2003
Having used both as when I started in Histology there were no disposable
blades until the first one came out (Phil Picket's design), and having
worked on the design and manufacture of a certain companies' blade when
I worked in the corporate world my answers are as follows:
1- Have any of you used steel blades for paraffin sectioning instead of
- Yes, but see #2 below
2 - Is this practical - meaning how many blocks is one blade able to
section before being sharpened, and what is the minimum cost involved in
the sharpening process?
- Of course it is practical, they were used for decades prior to the
advent of disposable blades. The number of blocks and slides that were
able to be cut from either type of blade is dependent on the type of
tissue, staples, and the technician. Quality should always come before
quantity. As for cost the following figures come from memory of about
20 years ago when I ran a large hospital histology lab in MI. A
minimum of 3 knives per tech at $250.00 (1 was always being sharpened).
Autosharp IV or V knife sharpener at 4-5 K each, I had 3 in my lab.
You could buy cheaper but you get what you pay for. Supplies for the
sharpeners such as extra plates and dressing compound runs into the
hundreds of dollars. Also the knives after time would still have to be
sent out for reconditioning at about $100.00 a pop. Now the reason for
the preceding is that I had a lab with 8 techs and 2-3 students and a
large variance in hand sharpening skills. A good hand sharpened blade
requires skill and time but comparatively little equipment cost. For
all of the preceding there is a fair amount of tech time involved, now
days better used for other things.
3 - Is there any way to sharpen disposable blades?
- Let's not be ridiculous, there is a reason for the word "disposable".
4 - What is the average amount of blocks a technician is able to
cut/blade - both using disposable and steel?
- see #2 above
5 - The best disposable blade is the one that produces the best
sections for YOU. You'll be able to find techs that will swear by any
manufacturers' blade and they will all be right because that "blade "
works for them.
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