A large portion of the professional time spent by most pathologists is the interpretation of biopsy specimens. A biopsy is essentially a tissue sample removed in order to achieve a diagnosis such as cancer, infection or other disease process. The actual biopsy procedure is usually performed by a surgeon, other specialist physicians or even primary care doctors. These biopsy specimens are then sent to a pathologist for interpretation. A pathologist has undergone specialized training in how diseases affect the human body and accurate diagnosis of these diseases by examination usually by using a light microscope. Once the biopsy specimen is received at the pathologist’s laboratory, it will undergo processing by the histology department along with placing sections of the tissue on a glass slide and staining of the slide. The routine stain that pathologists use on just about every case is the hematoxylin and eosin stain (H&E stain for short). A large portion of tissue samples can be diagnosed by reviewing the H&E-stained section but others may need to undergo specialized staining procedures such as immunohistochemistry. The pathologist has the expertise in determining what biopsies need to have these specialized stains. After review of the biopsy material, the pathologist will issue a pathology report in a timely manner and this report will have the diagnosis along with any other important pathological information.

Hospital Pathologist | Lab Community Hospital | Grand Junction, CO