If you’re a doctor or other healthcare worker who needs to analyze potentially cancerous cells, you may have heard of a frozen section biopsy. This is a modern method of detecting cancer in a patient. One of its biggest advantages is its quick turnaround time.
Yet what does a frozen section biopsy involve? Why should you be performing them?
In this article, we’ll show you why frozen section biopsies are so useful for healthcare professionals. Ready to find out more about this diagnostic method?
What is a Frozen Section Biopsy?
A frozen section biopsy is a type of biopsy which a surgeon performs on a tumor. While it was discovered in 1905, modern technology makes frozen section biopsies easier and more effective.
You will receive results faster than when using other diagnostic procedures. Let’s take a look at what a frozen section biopsy surgery involves.
- The anesthetist will anesthetize the patient
- The surgeon will make an incision exposing the tumor
- The surgeon will take a sample of the tumor and give it to a pathologist
- The pathologist quickly freezes the sample in a cryostat and takes a thin slice of the sample. They then place this under a microscope and analyze the sample
- The surgeon can take any extra samples while the patient is under anesthetic
- The pathologist will give the surgeon the results while the patient is still under anesthetic
Other biopsy techniques take days to get results. As we know, there is a critical link between the speed with which a patient is given treatment and survival rates. Faster diagnosis means that a patient may be able to have the tumor removed more quickly.
Other Uses of the Frozen Section Biopsy and Guidelines
As well as diagnosing whether a tumor is malignant or benign, a frozen section biopsy can also be used for other aspects of the diagnostic process.
It can, for instance, be used to detect whether the cancer has metastasized and to evaluate the extent of the disease. It can be used to determine whether pathological tissue is present for other analyses.
The pathologist must follow some guidelines to ensure that the biopsy is carried out successfully.
- The tissue should be as small as possible, as this allows for a more even freeze and fewer ice crystal artifacts
- The pathologist should freeze the tissue at -15 to -20 degrees centigrade.
- A semisolid consistency is best for analysis
- Fatty tissue may not be suitable for freezing
The Uses of Telepathology in Frozen Section Biopsies
In some circumstances, telepathology is very useful for frozen section biopsies. You can use our innovative portable microscope and scanner to share slide imagery with colleagues in real-time.
If you have any questions about frozen sections or our services, please contact us today.