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What is Histopathology?

A histopathologist using a microscope

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Also called a biopsy report, histopathology is the study of tissues related to disease. It can identify features of what cancer looks like under a microscope. Histopathologists can make diagnoses based on their findings and help clinicians manage patients’ care.

Read on to learn more about histopathology including why it’s important, who should get one, how it’s performed and how reports are given and interpreted.

Why is Histopathology Important?

Histopathologists are doctors who work closely with other specialties. They can make a diagnosis by examining a small piece of tissue from the skin, liver, kidney or other organ. This is called a biopsy.

They examine the tissue carefully under a microscope, looking for changes in cells that might explain what might be causing a patient’s illness.

Diseases that can be identified and diagnosed with a histopathology exam are cancers, Crohn’s disease, colitis, uterine fibroids and even infections.

How is Histopathology Performed?

The doctor will process and cut the tissue into very thin layers called sections. Then, they stain and examine it under a microscope. Finally, they observe and document their findings of the tissue’s details.

Tissue samples can be taken from procedures like an endoscopy, colonoscopy and colposcopy, and with surgeries like a breast biopsy.

Who Should Get a Histopathology Exam?

Patients with risk factors and/or who are experiencing symptoms related to illnesses that a histopathology report can identify should have the exam done.

How are Reports Given and Interpreted?

Histopathology reports may include:

  • A description of the tissue’s appearance
  • A diagnosis
  • A report detailing the findings of the case
  • The histopathologist’s comments

Interpreting the results includes a prognosis, the likely course the illness will take through predictions based on the findings. Some of the indicators used to interpret results are:

  • Indications that cancer has spread and extent of spread
  • Size and severity of the disease
  • Tumor grade

Grading systems differ depending on the kind of disease or cancer. In general, the cells are scored based on how abnormal they appear under the microscope.

For example, Grade 1 tumors appear nearly normal, whereas Grade 4 tumors indicate more abnormalities. The more abnormal the cells look, the higher the grade.

It's important to go over the results with your healthcare provider. Knowing what will be included in your report can help you prepare for your appointment.

Whole-Person Lab Services

At AdventHealth, we provide convenient onsite lab services performed by a team of highly specialized pathologists and technicians. As soon as your test is complete, we send your specimen to our lab. And as soon as the lab has the results, you’ll start getting answers.

Your body can tell us a lot about what it needs. You can trust us to quickly and accurately figure out what it’s saying so that we can help restore your wellness and keep you whole.

Visit us here. You deserve to feel whole.

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