The “Third Hand” Immobilization Principle in Bone Gross Section

It is a common knowledge to state that every cut section requires that the object to be  immobilized. Both cheese cutting and a surgical pathology specimen section need a firm surface beneeth them to accommodate the movements of the cutting instrument. The softer  the subject is, the less it tolerates any forcible movements from the cutting instrument. In bone cutting some resistance of the hard tissue playes a role. This requires an additional immolization.

While doing bone- cutting of different kinds of specimens in the surgical pathology laboratory, I immobilized the bone specimen in a vise, in a hard-pressed packing carton, and by using a modified Davidson’s Marking System’s wooden stand. Gradually, I realized that the additional immobilization could be achieved by placing the bone against a firm vertical surface.  I call it “the third hand” principle. It is not any revelation. It was in from ancient times when cutting lumber or cheese . The “third hand” can be any vertical or even semi or horizontal surface, as in cheese cutting. Using the “third hand” is indispensable when  hand- cutting small bone fragments, fragile bones, as well as doing serial bone section.

By the way, the “third hand” principle can be applied in different degrees to every precise tissue gross cutting, especially in biopsies. However, that being said, a special device should be design for this purpose.

Our book Grossing Bones: Principles, Techniques, and Instruments ( discusses the subject in detail.










Sakura HistoLogic ® June 2013; Vol. XLVI, No.1, pp. 8-10: Izak B. Dimenstein Third-hand Immobilization in Gross Sectioning of Pathology Specimens.










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