It’s not an exaggeration to say that pathology is crucial to the modern world. Simply put, this phenomenon examines and investigates diseases.
Pathology professionals strive to identify and understand various factors that could influence diseases. They conduct tests so that we can better understand how to recognize and contain these harmful pathogens.
But these are broad strokes of pathology; much like many medical fields, there’s more to it than initially meets the eye.
This article provides a brief overview of pathology’s different strands and the continuous impact it has on our health – present and future.
Interested? Continue reading to find out more.
Layers of Pathology
A pathologist isn’t a singular specialist who covers all that’s related to diseases. Instead, these doctors are specialized, usually applying their knowledge and attention to one particular aspect.
But, it’s safe to say all the strands of pathology are intricately connected.
While pathologists don’t work directly with the sick person, they’re ultimately the ones who supply the cure or solution to their health problem.
One of the more hands-on approaches to pathology is surgical pathology. These medical doctors examine samples of bacteria in several ways to provide a definitive diagnosis of the disease.
A gross analysis is applied to the tissue if the illness and its effect are visible to the eye. Whereas, histologic analysis involves microscope and laboratory examinations of biopsies and bodily fluids.
Surgical pathology is often used to examine tumors and biopsies. Arguably, this branch is the most critical (and time-consuming) in the world of pathology.
The doctors have to analyze the provided samples to determine the disease, examine the symptoms, and in some instances, investigate and document it (if they’ve not seen it before). They’ll also provide feedback on potential diagnosis and treatment plans will be decided by the patient’s care team.
But surgical pathology isn’t restricted to just identifying diseases in the living.
Autopsies are strongly connected to pathology, as well.
Autopsy specialists investigate the body of the deceased and determine the cause of death. They examine organs tissues, body tissues, and run laboratory tests to develop a forensic pathology of the cadaver.
They can spot the symptoms of the disease on the remaining organs, which enables them to identify the illness. Or, they might focus on finding the cause of death that’s related to an injury.
In that case, the job is to identify what inflicted the wound. They might even determine whether the death was natural, accidental or intentional. They accomplish this by fully examining the body fluids and tissues left behind and send the samples to clinical pathologists to use laboratory medicine techniques to analyze the cells or tissue.
Another major field in pathology is called cytopathology.
Personnel in this field of work to identify the disease on the cellular level. This microscopic analysis is often applied to cancer research but can also encompass the diagnosis of contagious diseases.
Unlike surgical pathology, cytopathology works with samples on a smaller scale, such as tissue fragments or fluids.
In certain cases, a cytopathologist may work directly with a patient, especially when it comes to helping with examinations and performing tests.
But, even when they’re not directly involved, the cytopathologist is responsible for determining what disease the tissue has and to advise on appropriate treatment.
Incredible attention to detail and exceptional professionalism is required. Namely, because issues cytopathologists examine aren’t evidently visible.
A Clinical pathologist works in the laboratory and oversees various difficult tests, supporting their diagnosis with laboratory analysis.
Clinical pathologists are responsible for the quality and surveillance of tests, most of which are automated due to advancements in technology.
These specialists can also advise other pathologists on the most appropriate test to use. Clinical pathology involves working with blood (such as transfusions) or chemical pathology. These doctors analyze pediatric pathology samples and samples from adults as well.
A Modern Twist on Established Science
Pathology in itself is a fairly old practice, which paved the way for many medical discoveries and improvements.
However, times move forward and so nowadays we have an array of technical tools to aid us in all aspects of our lives…and medicine is no exception.
Pathology’s advancements have improved the quality of research and provided patients and doctors with efficient and more precise diagnoses.
This is one of the newest pathology specializations; and with advancements in technology, this field is quickly expanding.
Molecular pathology, as the name suggests, studies disease through the examination of molecules. These experts aim to find out how the illness affects the organism.
Such a study allows professionals to determine how certain treatments might impact the patient. This presents the idea that pathology might be the key to personalized healthcare. But, we don’t have time to cover that in this blog!
Molecular pathology can be utilized to detect tumors that might be too small to be caught otherwise. Needles to say, this ensures an earlier diagnosis and higher survivability of the patient.
Another brilliant innovation is ‘digital pathology’.
This allows doctors to share images of the sample and get more than one opinion on certain subjects.
This not only expedites the diagnosis but it also improves its quality. Digital pathology is an asset to both doctors and patients since the analysis can be completed faster and with more precision.
Pathology – the Driving Force Behind Health
Traditional pathology started out as a science meant to study and diagnose diseases.
But, by examining infected tissues, taking a look at microscopic samples or completing a myriad of tests, this medical branch has paved the way for society to battle a variety of illnesses, particularly cancer.
We now have established treatments, and they’re constantly improving. With new advancements in science and technology, health diagnoses and testing are quicker and more precise than ever.
In the near future, the involvement of AI might also provide increasingly precise results, as this should completely negate human error.
After all, improved pathology only benefits society. If you want to further explore the direction modern pathology is taking, check out our telepathology solutions here.