Optimizing Ideal Thickness of Sections for Epidermis in Intra-Operative Frozen Sections

Document Type : Short Communications


Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, Saveetha Dental College and Hospitals, Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences, Saveetha University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.


Aim and objectives: To estimate and evaluate the optimal thickness of tissue section for skin and dermal appendages intra-operatively and to compare the morphology and architecture of the epidermis and its appendages at 7 and 10 microns. Methodology: After obtaining clearance from the institutional human ethical committee, 101 skin margins were prospectively analyzed using a two-step embedding technique. After multiple trials and errors, 7- and 10-micron thicknesses were selected for the present study. Artefacts, staining characteristics, cellular morphology, cellular outline, and nuclear outline were assessed and scored as unacceptable or acceptable. The data were entered in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and analyzed using SPSS software. Results: There was a statistically significant difference between the sections obtained at 7 microns and 10 microns (p-value: <0.001), the latter were better in all the parameters analyzed. However, no difference was noted in the characteristics of the dermal appendages (p-value: >0.05). Conclusion: While mucosal margins can be obtained at the usual 5-7 microns, the same thickness is not optimal for skin margins intra-operatively. Frozen sections for the skin margins may be set at 10 microns, to save time, minimize artefacts, and for better readability. 


Main Subjects