A Vise on the Grossing Table

Many laboratories have a rusty vise attached to a table. It soils the grossing room disseminating potentially hazardous materials in the central air-conditioned environment.

A rusty table vise in the laboratory

A different option is a vacuum base vise that can be placed at every area of the grossing table, including near the sink. The vise is securely attached to the smooth table’s surface.
The vacuum base vise is mentioned in CAP TODAY March, 2004 “Innovations in Pathology” column.

The industry offers different kind of vacuum base vises. Some of them are more as hobby devices.

Three main features of the vacuum base vise matter in the grossing room: first, secure attachment to the table, second, convenience of the swivel fixation, third, the depth of the vise’s throat.

A secure attachment to the table requires a smooth preferably dry and clean surface. The rubber pad is the most vulnerable part of the vise. It should be cleaned from any crumbs of bones after the work is done. A worn pad is useless because hermetic cannot be achieved. The steadiness of the vise should be always checked before the work starts.

There are two options of the swivel’s fixation: with a ring (Brink & Cotton type models) or with a knob (PanaVise type models). The latter is more convenient if it is necessary to change often the approach to the specimen, but the ring model is more compact on the table.

The most important is the depth of the vise’s throat. Sometimes the specimen should be placed for secure immobilization almost on the screw.

I use 2 ¾” jaw width, 1 ½” throat depth vacuum base vise by BRINK & COTTON from HOME DEPOT. SEARS sells a similar CRAFTSMAN device as Hobby vise. The price is around $30.
The PanaVise Vacuum Base Precision Vise Model 209 has jaws 2” tall that is excellent, but it has a complicated for grossing table design and a small support base. Wilton Columbia Hobby Vise reflects its name. It is not suitable for the grossing room work.
One of the main considerations in my choice between knob and ring vises was the cleaning issue. The knob vise is more difficult to keep clean that is significant in handling bone specimens.

The vise’s jaw faces hold the specimen firm and gently providing a secure gripping. Just for additional assurance and keeping the vise cleaner, it is reasonable to put in the vise’s throat some paper between the specimen and the jaw faces. Disposable small bubble packing is especially useful in providing a secure immobilization of a bone with attached soft tissue because the plastic bubbles fill out the uneven configuration of the soft tissue. A paper “apron” like a barbershop gown can protect the vise’s parts, especially the swivel from soiling. The “apron” as well as small bubble packing is discarded.

The vise is useful while handling complicated specimens like a mandible, especially if the teeth extraction is required. It can provide firm immobilization of specimens that include hard components like a larynx.

A hemi-mandible resection

Figure 1. Mandible bone

Figure 2. Mandible

Figure 3. Tooth extraction

An extracted tooth


Figure 5  A part of a maxillary bone

Firm but gentle immobilization allows more precise cut of the vocal cords and cartillages of the larynx

Figure 6.

More details in our book Grossing Bones: Principles, Techniques, and Instruments available now on Amazon.com.



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