Decalcification of Bone, Tooth, and Nail Samples

Dec 11, 2014 / Diagnostic Updates

Histopathology submissions of bone require decalcification before processing and preparing of slides for pathologists. Bone is placed into decalcification solution and then a chemical test is performed daily to determine if all calcium has been removed so that the sample can be processed and cut properly for the pathologist to read. This process could take anywhere from one day to several weeks, depending on the density of the bone specimen.

If tooth or nail is submitted with the sample, these require additional treatments after decalcification: a nitric acid solution for teeth, and a keratin softening solution for nails. These softening techniques could take additional days to weeks after decalcification before the submissions can be processed.