Does your practice or facility perform frozen section pathology? Are you aware of the latest advances and medical pathology trends? Do you understand which situations are appropriate for the use of frozen sections?
Continue reading to answer these questions. You will also learn how telepathology can enhance your practice and services.
What Is a Frozen Section?
The frozen section procedure involves a rapid cooling of a tissue section. A cryostat is the instrument used to freeze the tissue. It can also cut microscopic thin slices.
When the tissue cools at this fast rate, water converts to ice. The hard ice acts like embedding media when cutting the tissue.
A pathologist can do several tests on a frozen section including a microscopic exam. They can conduct enzyme immunocytochemistry and immunofluorescence studies. Also, the pathologist can stain lipids and certain carbohydrates.
The goal is to determine if the surgical resection has removed all abnormal tissue. If the pathologist reports that tissue margins have abnormal cells, the surgeon will remove more tissue. This continues until the margins are clear.
What Is the Purpose of Frozen Section Pathology?
One of the most important tests conducted by pathologists is the frozen section. It’s also one of the most stressful and difficult tasks. There’s only one correct reason to do an intraoperative frozen section.
This pathologic consultation should only take place during surgery if the results will:
- Impact further surgical procedures
- Change the patient’s care right after surgery
For this intraoperative pathology consultation to be valuable, several steps must take place. The pathologist must:
- Know the patient’s current clinical history
- Understand the surgical procedure
- Be an expert in the applicable gross and microscopic pathology
- Have expertise in performing and interpreting a frozen section
Participating in routine quality assurance programs improves the accuracy of frozen section interpretations. A comparison of the frozen section interpretation and the permanent section diagnosis takes place. The purpose is to look for discrepancies.
Surgeons and pathologists must understand the limitations of the frozen section technique. Many studies have examined the validity of using frozen sections in different scenarios. This led to guidelines for which procedures may benefit from this test.
If the frozen section has a low sensitivity for a procedure, it should not be used. In such cases, it may only lead to a prolonged procedure without altering the outcome.
Using Telepathology with Frozen Sections
For some facilities, a pathologist may not be available at all times or at all. In these cases, using telepathology can provide a solution.
A portable whole slide imaging microscope and scanner is placed at the remote facility. This machine is compact, lightweight, and user-friendly. Its purpose is to digitize and upload frozen sections.
A high-resolution digitized image is created by placing tissue into the device. This image is then shared through a live-mode feature with a remote pathologist.
A large screen shows real-time images. The surgeon on-site and the telepathologist can collaborate. This facilitates decisions about the best way to proceed.
Would Telemedicine Benefit Your Practice or Facility?
Specialist Direct offers end-to-end telemedicine solutions. One example includes examination and consultation on frozen section pathology. Our services include telecardiology, telepathology, and teleradiology.
We strive to assist facilities and practices in providing the best patient care. Customers express appreciation for our quick study turnaround. Our company understands that diagnosis and treatment depend on rapid test results.
Specialist Direct provides a world-class solution in a cloud-based environment. Contact us today to ask questions and learn how we can help you.