Frozen section
Frozen section preparation

Author: Jessica Wallace (see Authors page)

Revised: 24 July 2017, last major update October 2011

Copyright: (c) 2002-2017,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Frozen section preparation

Table of Contents
Definition / general
Cite this page: Frozen Section preparation. website. Accessed October 18th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Tissue should be received fresh, otherwise it will not stay on slide
  • At time of receipt of tissue, decide whether to obtain smears or touch preps and whether to freeze all or part of it
  • Touch preps and smears are often performed on lymph nodes suspicious for lymphoma
  • Some primary small lesions should not be entirely submitted for frozen section
  • There is debate on whether sentinel nodes should be entirely or representatively submitted for frozen section
  • Fixed tissue: there are special slides to keep tissue affixed to slide
  • To freeze fixed tissue, make sure it has been preserved in formalin and not alcoholic fixatives like Carnoy's, because tissue fixed in alcohol is harder to freeze
  • Avoid freezing tissue fixed with heavy metal salts such as B5 and Helly's (Zenker’s formal solution), which can denature proteins and shrink the tissue