Effect of a formalin-based fixation method on bone mineral content in human ex-vivo specimens

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Objective: Histopathology of formalin-fixated human ex-vivo specimens may be used as reference standard for evaluation of diagnostic index tests like CBCT or MRI. The aim was to estimate changes in bone mineral content (BMC) over time in human ex-vivo bone specimens fixated in a formalin-based solution for 24 h followed by storage in an alcohol-based medium for six months, assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Methodology: Bone specimens (n = 19) from human ex-vivo mandibles donated for science were included. BMC was measured by DXA before fixation (D0), after 24 h of immersion fixation in a formalin-based solution (D1), and hereafter every 30 days (M1-M6) during storage in a 30% ethanol-based storage medium for 6 months. Changes in BMC from D0 to D1 and from D0 to M6 were calculated and mean change in BMC estimated. Results: Mean change in BMC from D0 to D1 was −0.73% (95% CI −1.75%; 0.29%), and from D0 to M6 −1.19% (95% CI −2.14%; −0.23%). Conclusions: No changes in BMC of ex-vivo human bone specimens were found after 24 h formalin-based immersion fixation. After six months storage in an ethanol-based medium, BMC mean loss of 1% was detected. In this range, changes in BMC are not clinically relevant.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Odontologica Scandinavica
Pages (from-to)212-217
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • bone mineral content, DXA, ex-vivo human specimen, formalin fixation, Reference standard

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