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VOLUME 6 , ISSUE 1 ( January-March, 2015 ) > List of Articles


Comparative Study of Acrylic Color and India Ink for Their Use as a Surgical Margin Inks in Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Anuprita Patil, Rahul Anand, Pratiksha Mahajan

Citation Information : Patil A, Anand R, Mahajan P. Comparative Study of Acrylic Color and India Ink for Their Use as a Surgical Margin Inks in Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma. World J Dent 2015; 6 (1):26-30.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10015-1308

Published Online: 01-03-2015

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2015; The Author(s).



To compare acrylic color and India ink for their use as a surgical margin. Since, acrylic paints are available in multiple colors, they can be used to mark different surgical margins with different specific colors.

Materials and methods

The study was carried out on 30 surgically excised and formalin fixed oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) specimens. Four surgical margins of each 15 specimens were marked with India ink and the remaining were marked with acrylic colors. The grossed specimens were then processed using routine histopathology technique. The 4 mm sections of tissue block were cut using microtome and sections were stained with hematoxylin and eosin stain. Various macroscopic and microscopic parameters were used to study the suitability of acrylic color as surgical ink.


Three different technicians found equal ease of application for acrylic color and India ink. The drying time for acrylic color (1.30 ± 0.009 minutes) was significantly less than India ink (2.30 ± 0.05 minutes). Out of total 60 blocks made for acrylic colors, 52 (86.66%) displayed clear visibility on paraffin blocks (93.33%). In contrast, out of 60 blocks made for India ink, only 34 showed faint visibility on paraffin blocks (56.66%). All acrylic colors were visible very clearly and uninterruptedly under the microscope, while three (5%) surgical margins stained with India ink were interrupted. With the acrylic colors, no contamination or staining of other tissues, processing fluids and solutions were reported. However, with India ink, three (5%) samples reported contamination in alcohol and xylene. There was no interference with the microscopic interpretation of nuclear and cellular details for both acrylic color and India ink whatsoever.


Acrylic colors are more suitable as surgical ink over India ink because of its availability in different colors, ease of application, faster drying time, and no contamination with processing fluids, easy availability and excellent visibility on paraffin blocks and under microscope. Moreover, if needed, painting with multiple colors could also help in reassessment of surgical margins of the gross specimen in the future.

How to cite this article

Sarode SC, Sarode GS, Patil S, Mahajan P, Anand R, Patil A. Comparative Study of Acrylic Color and India Ink for Their Use as a Surgical Margin Inks in Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma. World J Dent 2015;6(1):26-30.

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