The world of medicine is ever changing due to expansive studies and their findings, and the same can be said for the advancements being made in technology. It’s only fitting that when medicine and technology are coupled, positive changes in medical diagnosis are achieved.
What is a pathology scanner?
Pathology scanners, also known as digital pathology or digital histology, produce high-resolution images of cells by scanning a slide.
Why do we use scanners in pathology?
To determine whether disease is present in a tissue sample, a pathologist stains the tissue and creates a slide. The slide is then observed under a microscope to clearly view the cells and identify any abnormalities or disease. While viewing the slide through a microscope provides the pathologist with a clear, magnetized view of the tissue, this enhanced view can only be seen if the pathologist is in possession of the physical slide. Without the ability to digitize the image being seen, the results cannot be shared quickly or stored in a way that can be easily accessed and reviewed.
Through the use of a pathology scanner, the enhanced image of the tissue sample can be scanned and digitized allowing the pathologist to not only share the image electronically, but also store the image digitally for quick access.
Changing the landscape of pathology
Having the ability to digitize a slide has opened up many new possibilities within the field of pathology. For instance, in remote areas there may not be access to specialists or a hospital may not staff a pathologist overnight. Sending a physical slide to a specialist or waiting for a pathologist to be on shift may not always be an option when waiting for a critical diagnosis. By utilizing a pathology scanner, the sample can be scanned and sent electronically for an expedient diagnosis.
In the case of organ procurement, placing an organ is reliant upon rapid verification of an organ’s viability and sending off a slide to be read may not be an option. Without the ability to quickly determine if an organ is for suitable for transplant, not only is there great risk for the organ to be lost without being transplanted, but the opportunity to save a life could also be missed. Pathology scanners are making quick diagnosis possible for organ procurement organizations.
Speed without compromise
While digitizing a slide may not be brand-new technology, the quality produced by new pathology scanners available today is. Older models utilized cameras instead of scanners to capture closeup pictures of a slide. While this may work in some cases, typically the image quality is not crisp enough to be used for diagnosis. New pathology scanners on the other hand consistently produce high-resolution images that can be depended on for quick, reliable diagnosis.