What is surgical pathology?
Surgical pathology is the study of tissues removed from living patients during surgery
to help diagnose a disease and determine a treatment plan. Often, the surgical pathologist
provides consultation services in a wide variety of organ symptoms and subspecialties.
Surgical pathologists provide diagnostic information and/or second opinions. For example,
when performing breast cancer surgery, a surgical pathologist's examination of tissues
removed during surgery can help the surgeon to determine whether to remove lymph nodes
under the arm, as well.
Surgical pathology includes both the physical examination of the tissue with the naked
eye, as well as examining processed tissue under a microscope. New techniques of examination
of tissue and cell specimens involve molecular diagnostics (DNA/RNA analysis), which
involves analyzing DNA and proteins in the blood. Examples of the uses of the technology
include the ability to:
Distinguish between benign (noncancerous) and malignant (cancerous) white blood cells
Detect early genetic changes which may result in cancer
Identify infectious agents in body tissues