Medical Technical Laboratory Assistant
Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
Laboratory of Biomechanics and Experimental Orthopedics
What kind of scientific research do you conduct with the M8 microscope?
I view histopathological slides in orthopedics and view scores. For example, Brackertz score (Arthritis score) and Krenn score (Synovitis score) to find out changes in the synovial layer, like infiltrates of macrophages or hyperplasia. We also see changes in ossification and cartilage.
What troubles did you face when working with a traditional microscope?
On a traditional microscope, we don’t have a large overview of the specimen and the scope of field is very small. Therefore, the tissues and specimen that we need to view are too big for the little microscope and we would previously need 20 separate images to view the entire specimen. Or we would use a 5x magnification to have a larger overview, but then the zoomed out view wasn’t as detailed. Neither was ideal and it took a very long time to evaluate the scores and conduct statistics.
Did you have to stitch microscope images together for the overview?
Sometimes we stitched the images, but it was terrible since the images didn’t always fit together. The illumination and the white areas were different, with some darker and some brighter. It was also difficult to find every section that matched together and definitely time consuming.
How has the M8 changed your workflow process?
Now it’s very easy. We have a big overview of the entire slide immediately and can zoom into any part without switching objectives. Also, the stepless zoom allows us to have a view of the specimen at “in-between” magnification – for example at 15x instead of the set 10x or 20x objectives. Before, we had to continuously change objectives first from 5x to 10x, 20x and 40x. It was a very tedious process.
What mode do you use on the M8?
We use the InstantScan mode often. It’s fast and we make annotations for everything we need.
Can you walk us through some evaluations you would do on the microscope?
We sometimes have 600-800 slides to look through so that we can count specific cells and immunostained cells on each slide. Due to the high number of slides and the InstantScan mode is very useful and about 3-4 times faster than using a normal microscope.
Other evaluations we do is we first look at the slide overview to find our field of interest, then measure sizes of the cells and layers. We measure the thickness of the synovial layer or the distances of the synovial spaces in the knee. The line tool allows us to measure the distance between the cartilage and synovial layer. We also use the counting tool to count cells that are colored in the immunohistochemical staining. With the M8, we don’t need to scan the whole slide and count by hand. The live-stitching is much faster than stitching manually.
What were some concerns you had prior to making the switch to the M8 Microscope and Scanner, and were we able to fulfill those concerns?
I was initially worried that the resolution of the slides wouldn’t be good enough on the camera of the microscope. I didn’t want false positives or false negative results when reading my samples. For example, for immunohistological stains, in a normal microscope, if there wasn’t a good stain of the slide, we wouldn’t be able to tell if the results were positive or negative. We had to adjust the brightness manually for different lighting and it was cumbersome to do this by hand.
The M8 has fully met our prior concerns. The light on the M8 is constant, so we never have to adjust the light. It’s much better and that allows our accuracy to be even higher than before, even when a stain is weak, the colors are much brighter due to the lighting and we can really determine whether a cell is positive or negative with full confidence.
What are 3 characteristics of the M8 digital microscope?
Fast evaluation. Brilliant pictures with high resolution. Easy and simple handling.
Anything else you’d like to mention?
With traditional microscopes, we couldn’t view through the lens and take a picture at the same time. We would look through the microscope eyepiece and hope that the camera view would also be sharp. However, because the adjustment is very sensitive, we had to ensure no additional accidental movements. We would often get not focused pictures, and had to take the picture again. We don’t have to worry about this anymore.
Also the price isn’t high for such a quality microscope.