Problems in Histopathological Technique


Prepared by


IMVS Division of Pathology

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Woodville Road, Woodville, South Australia 5011






To recover sections from broken slides.


We get a lot of slides sent to us from all over the world for opinions. It is quite common for these slides to be broken in transit to our laboratory. The solution offered can be used to recover sections that are with or without coverslips.



  • attach the broken pieces of slide of to new slide but a cement must be used that is not miscible with xylene. I have used super glue with quite good results

  • Allow the glue to harden overnight, even with super glue this step is necessary

  • Then place the combined slides into a Coplin jar containing xylene. If the slide had a coverglass the xylene will remove the coverglass. If the section was a paraffin section that had not been mounted then the xylene will deparaffinise the section.

  • Once the coverglass is dislodged or the paraffin wax removed apply a liquid coverglass over the slide. These are available from organisations which supply goods to histology laboratories. Or LVN or celloidin can be used with good results.

  • Allow to dry overnight

  • Then soak for several hours in warm water

  • It is then possible to peel the section from the damaged slide then trim off the excess liquid coverslip.

  • Float the section, tissue side down, on to warm water in a flotation bath. then mount the section onto a gelatinised slide and carefully wipe away the excess water

  • The section can be flattened at this stage, very carefully, with a rubber roller

  • Then allow the slide to dry overnight

  • Expose the slide to formalin vapour for a few minutes to render the gelatin gel irreversible

  • Mount under a coverslip, if stained or if not

  • Dissolve the liquid coverslip in xylene

  • Rehydrate

  • and stain the section

  • dehydrate and mount from xylene



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© Roy C. Ellis 2002