Slide warming tables are commonly used in specimen processing to remove excess water after staining step anduniformly heat the slides. These features make themideal for use in histology, pathology, cytology, and biology for paraffin sample mounting.
Heating slides to a uniform temperature just below the melting point of wax is crucial as it assure perfect flattening without causing any damage to the specimen section. A slide warming table rapidly reduces the time required for tissue processing, especially when dealing with a large volume of samples, as it can accommodate a large number of slides together, and is compact enough to require minimal space in the laboratories. Moreover, by providing uniform heat to the slides, it eliminates the risk of specimen damage due to excessive and continuous heating, such as de-hemoglobinization of blood film due to heat fixing.
Preventing air bubbles
Air bubbles result in uneven sections and staining artifacts, which makes microscopic analysis of the specimen very difficult. This problem can be overcome by vertically draining the slides on a paper towel prior to placing them a slide warming table. Slides should preferable be kept overnight on the warming table set at 37°C–40°C or for 20–30 min at a temperature of approximately 58°Cor below the melting point of paraffin.
Increasing section’s adherence
Sections can sometimes fall off during the hybridization and washing steps. This can be taken care of by incubating the slides on warming table for longer time periods (more than or equal to 24 h). The longer the incubation period, the better the results are. This ensures sufficient time to “bake” the ribbon pieces on the slide. This is a crucial step and should be immediately preformed to improve the sections’ adherence to the slide.
Slide warming tables are useful for labs that are frequently involved in paraffin tissue embedding and section mounting. It is a cost effective option over manual method as it ensures uniform heat transfer over the slide surface, thus reducing the long-term expenditure in lower quality slides. Like all instruments, the quality checks and calibrations of slide warming tables should be regularly performed for better results.