[Histonet] Re: Bone Marrow Fixative

Robert Richmond rsrichmond <@t> gmail.com
Fri Mar 5 13:07:01 CST 2010

Kelly Larson, HT(ASCP) at Pathology Services of West Michigan notes:

>>I am using Fix-All from Surgipath for bone marrow fixation. I empty the syringe into the fixative as soon as it is handed to me (no messing around with clots). I fix for 1-2 hours in Fix-All, then transfer to a screen cassette and our normal processing with 10% NBF. The pathologist is very happy with the results.<<

Back when I was performing bone marrow biopsies, I'd empty the
unclotted aspiration specimen in neutral buffered formalin. Formalin
doesn't clot blood, so I'd be left with a mass of fine particles I
could put in a tea bag for processing. (Tea bags now are much too
politicized to use for this purpose.) I'd fix the clot (after chopping
it up) and the bone biopsy specimen in Zenker's (actually Helly's)
fixative. I would thus wind up with three paraffin blocks. Those were
the days! (If I were doing bone marrows today, I'd use no fixative
other than neutral buffered formalin.)

According to the SurgiPath Web site, Fix-All contains formaldehyde,
alcohol, and barium chloride, and is touted as a B-5 (mercury
fixative) substitute. John Kiernan pointed out some time ago on
Histonet that there is no rational purpose in putting barium in a

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Knoxville TN

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