Preservation of Rat Digestive Tract by Phenol-based Embalming Solution
Rahman, S M Niazur
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The use of cadaver is most optimally simulated technique in surgical and anatomical training. The current standard formaldehyde fixation preserves cadaveric tissues for use for an extended period as compared to unfixed tissues. Still, it fails to maintain the natural color, texture, and biomechanical properties. Phenol based soft embalming methods were developed to preserve these qualities, while simultaneously reducing the biohazard risk. Soft embalming methods have made the bodies more ‘lifelike’ and better suited for training. There have been very few studies reported to date on the effects of phenol-embalming on tissue structure at the histological level. The current research project was designed to assess the preservation of the digestive tract with a phenol-based solution as compared with the classical formaldehyde fixation. The gross morphological changes and microscopic features of different parts of the digestive tube were noted. Various segments of the alimentary tract were harvested from adult rats. The fresh samples were dissected to obtain esophageal, small, and large intestinal tissues for phenol-based fixation and histological analysis after that. Control samples were fixed in routine 4% paraformaldehyde fixative. Following fixation, tissues were processed, stained with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) or Masson’s trichrome (MT) for histologic analyses. Results showed that the digestive tract tissues fixed with phenol were much more flexible as compared to paraformaldehyde-fixation. Histologically, phenol-based fixation was comparable to that preserved by a paraformaldehyde-based solution. It was concluded that phenol-based solution is an excellent fixative used to preserve the digestive tract tissue for microscopic analysis.