Histopathology (or histology) involves the examination of sampled whole tissues under the microscope. Three main types of specimen are received by the pathology laboratory.
Specimens received by the pathology laboratory require tissue preparation then are treated and analysed using techniques appropriate to the type of tissue and the investigation required. For immediate diagnosis during a surgical procedure a frozen section is performed
- Larger specimens include whole organs or parts thereof, which are removed during surgical operations. Examples include a uterus after a hysterectomy, the large bowel after a colectomy or tonsils after a tonsillectomy.
- Pieces of tissue rather than whole organs are removed as biopsies, which often require smaller surgical procedures that can be performed whilst the patient is still awake but sedated. Biopsies include excision biopsies, in which tissue is removed with a scalpel
The frozen section procedure is a pathological laboratory procedure to perform rapid microscopic analysis of a specimen. It is used most often in oncological surgery. The technical name for this procedure is cryosection.
Both the surgeon and pathologist should be fully aware of the indications for FS. This will allow the appropriate request to be attended to. As mentioned earlier, only those requests that will definitely influence the intra-operative management should be duly entertained.