Hair dye– a novel inking substitute in histopathology

Janane M

Background: Inking agents are usually used in histopathology for marking gross specimen excision margins. Colouring the specimen with different colours adds precision to the margins. They are especially useful when tumor borders are infiltrative, irregular and excision margins are close. In this study, various coloured dyes were used and their efficacy was compared.
Aim: Aim of this study is to compare the efficacy of various commercially and easily available coloured dyes such as hair dyes, acrylic colours with the traditionally available India ink.
Materials and Methods: 30 tissue Samples were selected and grouped into 3 groups and inking was done using India ink, Hair dye and Acrylic colour for each group. All the groups were compared for their efficacy.
Results: Acrylic colour is comparatively easier for application. The drying time for india ink (3 mins ± 20 sec) was less than hair dye and acrylic colour. Out of 10 blocks made for hair dye, all displayed clear visibility on paraffin blocks (100%). 90% of those inked with acrylic colors were visible clearly and uninterruptedly under the microscope. With India ink and hair dye, 50% dehydrating agents showed contamination. However, with acrylic, clearing agent (xylene) showed contamination. There was penetration of India ink and showed mild interference with the microscopic interpretation.
Conclusion: Hair dye and acrylic colours can be used as a substitute to India ink as marking dye for histopathology.

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