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July 15, 1988

Stapling Muscle Biopsy Specimens to Prevent Artifcats

Author Affiliations

Louis A. Weiss Memorial Hospital Chicago

Louis A. Weiss Memorial Hospital Chicago

JAMA. 1988;260(3):338. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410030054016

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To the Editor.—  Open-muscle biopsy specimens often are clamped to prevent contraction artifacts, particularly when they are to be processed for electron microscopy. Instruments available for this may be expensive to purchase, difficult to use, or simply unobtainable in the average operating room. Another method is to stretch the muscle on a tongue blade and tie it down with heavy sutures. This can prove to be tedious and time consuming.An alternative technique is to staple the free specimen to a strip of balsa wood (standard size, 5×2 mm, obtainable for pennies at any hobby shop) that has been cut into short lengths with a razor blade. A surgical skin stapler, ready for disposal after use but still containing a few staples, is ideal for this procedure. The staple grips the specimen and strip of balsa circumferentially. As it is tightened, the muscle is held firmly to the wood, preventing