Can your practice or facility perform frozen section pathology? Are you familiar with the latest advancements and trends in medical pathology? Do you have a clear understanding of the appropriate situations for utilizing frozen sections?
Please continue reading to find answers to these questions and gain insights into how telepathology can enhance your practice and services.
What is Frozen Section Pathology?
Frozen section pathology involves rapidly cooling a tissue section using a cryostat, which is an instrument designed for freezing and cutting thin slices of tissue. The fast cooling process converts water in the tissue to ice, allowing the tissue to be easily cut. A pathologist can perform various tests on a frozen section, including microscopic examination, enzyme immunocytochemistry, immunofluorescence studies, and staining for lipids and carbohydrates.
The primary goal of frozen section pathology is to determine if a surgical resection has successfully removed all abnormal tissue. If the pathologist identifies abnormal cells at the tissue margins, the surgeon will continue removing additional tissue until clear margins are achieved.
What is the Purpose of Frozen Section Pathology?
The frozen section is one of the most important tests conducted by pathologists, but it is also a challenging and stressful task. It is only performed during surgery when the results have a direct impact on further surgical procedures or immediate post-surgery patient care. To ensure the value of this intraoperative pathology consultation, several essential steps must be taken. The pathologist must have a thorough understanding of the patient’s clinical history, the surgical procedure, relevant gross and microscopic pathology, as well as expertise in performing and interpreting frozen sections. Participating in routine quality assurance programs helps improve the accuracy of frozen section interpretations, as a comparison is made between the frozen section interpretation and the final diagnosis from permanent sections to identify any discrepancies.
Surgeons and pathologists need to be aware of the limitations of the frozen section technique. Extensive research has been conducted to determine the validity of using frozen sections in different scenarios, leading to guidelines on which procedures may benefit from this test. If the frozen section has low sensitivity for a particular procedure, it should not be employed, as it may only prolong the procedure without altering the outcome.
Enhancing Frozen Section Pathology with Telepathology
In situations where a pathologist may not be available at all times or at a particular facility, telepathology offers a viable solution. Telepathology involves using a portable whole slide imaging microscope and scanner, which digitizes and uploads frozen sections. The high-resolution digitized image is shared with a remote pathologist in real-time through a live-mode feature on a large screen. This allows on-site surgeons and telepathologists to collaborate and make informed decisions on the best course of action.
Would Telemedicine Benefit Your Practice or Facility?
Specialist Direct provides comprehensive telemedicine solutions, including examination and consultation on frozen section pathology, telecardiology, and teleradiology. Our services aim to assist facilities and practices in delivering the best possible patient care. Our quick study turnaround time is highly appreciated by our customers, as we understand that timely diagnosis and treatment rely on rapid test results. Specialist Direct offers a state-of-the-art cloud-based solution. Contact us today to inquire about our services and discover how we can support your practice.