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Reassessment of the rate of fixative diffusion.
  1. R D Start,
  2. C M Layton,
  3. S S Cross,
  4. J H Smith
  1. Department of Histopathology, Northern General Hospital, Sheffield.


    The diffusion of fixatives is slow. Early work using plasma gels and animal tissues showed the distance penetrated by a fixative to be a simple function of the fixation time but this relation has not been established in human tissues. The rates of diffusion into whole human spleens were measured for three primary fixatives over periods ranging from one to 25 days. A positive correlation was demonstrated between penetration distance (mm) and fixation time (hours). The diffusion rates were slower than those in previous studies. These results have possible implications for the handling of surgical specimens.

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