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Tissue Decalcification for Paraffin Processing (Online CE Course)

(based on 137 customer ratings)

Author: Diana Harrington, BS, HT(ASCP)
Reviewer: Carla Shoffeitt, MSM, HT(ASCP)

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Continuing Education Credits

P.A.C.E.® Contact Hours (acceptable for AMT, ASCP, and state recertification): 1 hour(s)
Course number 578-077-18, approved through 10/31/2020
Course number 20-684368, approved through 9/1/2020


  • Define the bone types and their composition.
  • Describe techniques used to remove mineral from bone or other calcified tissue.
  • Determine the end-point of decalcification based on the method used.
  • Identify troubleshooting strategies used when unexpected calcium is revealed or if tissue is under- or over-decalcified.

Customer Ratings

(based on 137 customer ratings)

Course Outline

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  • Overview
  • Bone
      • Bone Types
      • Bone Composition
      • Bone Cells
      • Bone is primarily comprised of what mineral?
  • Fixation of Calcified Tissue
  • Methods Used to Decalcify Tissue
      • Decalcification Methods Using Acids
      • Strong Mineral Acids
      • Weak Organic Acids
      • Chelation With EDTA
      • Electrolytic Methods
      • Match the following decalcification acids with the correct classification as either a strong mineral acid or weak organic acid.
      • Which acid is commonly combined with formalin in order to fix and decalcify tissue simultaneously?
  • Determining the End-Point of Decalcification
  • Troubleshooting Calcified Tissue
      • Surface Decalcification
      • Inadequate Decalcification
      • Excessive Decalcification
      • Calcium that was not effectively decalcified stains bright pink with the H&E stain and does not hinder diagnosis rendering.
  • Summary of Decalcification
      • Summary
  • References
      • References

Additional Information

Level of instruction: Basic
Intended audience: Clinical laboratory histotechnologists, histotechnicians, and other medical laboratory personnel who have an interest in this subject matter. This course is also appropriate for histology and clinical laboratory science students, pathology residents, and practicing pathologists.
Author information: Diana Harrington, BS, HT(ASCP) is a histotechnologist at The Dermatology Center of Indiana. Since graduating from Indiana University, she has worked in various hospital laboratories as a medical technologist and histotechnologist. Her experience led her to teach IU students as a Clinical Education Supervisor and create the Histotechnology Program as Program Director for Keiser University in Florida.
Reviewer information: Carla J. Shoffeitt, MSM, HT(ASCP) is the Manager of the Pathology Department of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Pediatric Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. She holds a Master of Science Degree in Healthcare Management as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Troy University, Troy, Alabama. She is certified as a Histotechnician and has over 20 years of experience in the field of Histology.
Course description: This course aims to simplify the decalcification process and provide useful techniques to work with calcified tissue successfully.

Properly decalcified bone
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Properly decalcified bone