Pathology is a branch of medical science that studies diseases, their causes, processes, and effects on the human body. Pathologists play a crucial role in diagnosing, treating, and preventing various diseases. Pathology can be broadly classified into two categories: anatomic pathology services and clinical pathology services.
Both branches offer essential diagnostic tools and expertise that enable doctors and healthcare professionals to better understand and manage health conditions.
Anatomic pathology services include the microscopic examination of cells, tissues, and organs to detect diseases and abnormalities. This branch of pathology focuses on the morphologic, or structural, aspects of disease, which helps identify the presence, progression, and severity of various conditions. Anatomic pathology services can be further divided into two main subcategories: surgical pathology, and cytopathology.
Surgical pathology is the most common subset of anatomic pathology, where surgically removed tissues are examined. The pathologist examines the tissue sample to determine whether disease or cancer is present. If there is cancer, they can determine if it is benign or malignant, the tumor’s stage, and the presence of any other abnormalities. This information is vital for clinicians to make accurate diagnoses and formulate effective treatment plans.
Cytopathology is the examination of individual cells to detect diseases and abnormalities. It is a less invasive alternative to surgical pathology, as it usually requires a smaller sample size. Cytopathology can detect various conditions, including cancer, infections, and inflammatory diseases. Examples of cytopathology procedures include fine-needle aspiration (FNA), cervical smears (Pap test), and body fluid analysis.
Some pathology laboratories have facilities to take FNA samples from patients directly. Pathologists trained and skilled in FNA can get quality samples in their FNA clinic, allowing patients to get the best possible results efficiently.
Clinical pathology services involve the analysis of blood, urine, and other body fluids to diagnose and monitor various diseases. This branch of pathology focuses on the biochemical, hematological, and immunological aspects of disease, providing valuable insights into a patient’s health status. Clinical pathology services can be divided into subcategories: clinical chemistry, hematology, immunology, and transfusion medicine.
Clinical chemistry analyzes bodily fluids, such as blood, urine, and cerebrospinal fluid, to detect chemical imbalances, metabolic disorders, and drug levels. This branch of clinical pathology plays a vital role in diagnosing conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, and kidney disorders and monitoring the effectiveness of medications and treatments.
Hematology is a branch of pathology that examines blood to look for markers of disease as well as diagnose diseases like leukemia and lymphoma or clotting disorders. Various tests can be performed on blood, and the blood cells can be examined under a microscope.
Find Your Partner in Pathology
Pathology services are indispensable in healthcare, providing crucial diagnostic information that informs medical decision-making and treatment planning. By working together, physicians and pathologists can improve efficiency in diagnosis, find the best treatments, and ultimately lead to better patient outcomes.