In this study, the effects of fixation procedures, embedding medium and section thickness on stereological measurements of normal thyroid were analysed. The following conclusions were drawn: A) the use of a single section for the analysis of a lobe is sufficient if this section is located in the central part of the lobe. B) fixation and embedding with glutaraldehyde-Epon leads to a larger shrinkage than Bouin-paraplast, but the difference between the two procedures is not significant. C) osmium post-fixation reduces the shrinkage induced by glutaraldehyde and lowers the axial deformation produced by sectioning. D) Bouin's fixative and paraplast embedding induce considerable shrinkage of the interstitial tissue. The shrinkage obtained with glutaraldehyde-Epon is less. However, it is still not known whether this difference is due to the fixative, or to the embedding procedure or to both. E) only in glutaraldehyde and osmium-fixed material, embedded in Epon, can follicles and colloids be assumed to be spherical in shape without significant errors.