How does the surgical or clinical specimen biopsy become a part of the patient’s chart as a pathology report? Many steps are involved in the specimen diagnosis process.

After the biopsy is taken, the pathologist or pathologist assistant selects a representative section(s) of the tissue to be made into slides which are examined under the microscope by one of our pathologists and the pathologist interprets the cells to render the diagnosis. This diagnosis by the pathologist is essential to assist the clinician in a choice of therapy.

The laboratory histology technicians have a large responsibility in preparation of the patient specimen slides. Each step in our specimen process will show specific tissue characteristics and these characteristics must be identified independently for accurate diagnosis.

The steps for slide production involve:

  • preservation of the biopsy tissue specimen
  • automated processing (dehydration) of the biopsy tissue sample
  • infiltration of the specimen with paraffin, our working medium
  • embedding (orientation) of the biopsy tissue
  • cutting (slicing) ultra thin sections of the tissue for the slide
  • staining of the cells and tissue structures for pathologist review (see IHC and special stains)
  • coverslip (glass cover) the slide – making a permanent patient record
  • slide review and interpretation by the pathologist
  • patient report production by our pathologists

The responsibilities involved in this process require experience, knowledge, and sound judgment. Proper quality control in each step of the process is mandatory for exact patient identification and an accurate and quality diagnosis.