What is histopathology?

Histopathology is a branch of pathology that addresses the diagnosis of diseases through the analysis of tissues, integrating both their macroscopic and microscopic characteristics. It plays a leading role in clinical diagnosis since the analysis of the morphology of the cell allows to determine with greater precision the pathological alteration that affects the tissue and, therefore, to reach an accurate diagnosis.

Specifically, in clinical medicine, histopathology refers to the examination of a biopsy or surgical sample by a pathologist, after the sample has been processed and histological sections have been placed on glass slides.

What is a histopathologist?

Histopathologists are medical specialists who have extensive knowledge and understanding of the pathological and clinical aspects of the disease. They work with a wide range of patients and medical conditions, as well as many other medical professionals who have experience in associated disciplines, as well as with an increasing range and complexity of technologies including some medical imaging equipment such as electron microscopes.

What is the importance of histopathological analysis in clinical practice?

  • Make an early diagnosis: A histopathological analysis can help to corroborate the clinical diagnosis or make an early diagnosis, in the early stages of the disease, when it may still be reversible or respond better to treatment. It must be taken into account that there are lesions that macroscopically may appear benign but turn out to be malignant when analyzed microscopically, so it is always advisable to perform a histopathological examination to clear up any doubts.
  • Determine the cause of the pathology: The histopathological study serves to identify structural alterations and protein or genetic abnormalities, in order to determine the nature of the abnormality. In fact, detecting the cause of the disease broadens the understanding of the disease process. In cancer cases, for example, histopathological analysis can indicate whether it is a consequence of a degenerative process or a neoplasm.
  • Know the prognosis of the disease: Knowing exactly the pathology that the animal presents, as well as its stage, helps the specialist to form a general image of the clinical picture. Histopathological diagnosis reveals with greater precision those pathological changes that affect the prognosis of the disease, as supported by different studies.
  • Choose the most effective treatment: Knowing the disease, its cause and stage allows a careful analysis of the different therapeutic options to choose the most appropriate one. The confirmation provided by the histopathological study allows rapid therapeutic decisions to be made that increase the efficacy and success of treatment. Histopathological analysis can also be used to monitor treatment.

Main equipment used in pathological anatomy

Among the equipment most used in this science, we have: microtomes, microscopes, tissue processor, water baths for tissues, cryostats, cooling plates, trimmer and paraffin dispenser, slide dryers, tissue inclusion systems, systems of automatic staining for slides, among others.

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