Did you know that around 12 million Americans will receive a medical misdiagnosis each year? Unfortunately, approximately 50% of those cases can lead to long-term damage.
As technology continues advancing, pathologists are becoming a more critical part of the health care field. A frozen section biopsy can reduce costly medical errors. It can also shine a new light on the world of diseases and how practitioners implement a course of treatment.
If you have an interest in learning more about what a frozen section biopsy is, then keep reading on.
What Is Pathology
Before diving into biopsies, it is equally as important to address what the field of pathology is. Pathologists, like medical practitioners, help diagnose diseases.
The field of pathology also focuses on the how and why factor. How did the disease come to be? Why is it causing harm to a person?
A pathologist spends most of their time examining tissues more closely than surgeons or other doctors would. They also look at blood, bodily fluids, and organs. From examining small parts of the human body, pathologists can determine what a disease is and assist in a course of action.
There are many subfields of pathology. Some of the more common ones include:
For example, depending on the field of specialty, pathologists may look more closely at bodily fluids than others. Microbiology has become much more relevant during the past two years.
Pathologists who focus on microbiology examine pathogens like viruses. They are critical in managing infection outbreaks – such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like most fields of medicine, pathologists are following the digital route. Telepathology uses telecommunication for communicating with doctors and patients.
Companies that use telepathology have the capability of delivering biopsy results in less time. It also gives an opportunity for other health care practitioners and patients to receive quality services no matter where they are in the country.
Make sure you look into companies that have Board-Certified pathologists. It is also helpful that telepathology companies use many subspecialty pathologists.
A tissue biopsy is when a physician takes a small portion of human cells and sends it off to the lab for a closer look. Once a tissue sample arrives in a lab, pathologists can look at the tissue under a microscopic lens and see its cellular make-up.
They are skilled at addressing what is normal and abnormal. Pathologists look at the shape, type, or mechanisms of the cell.
Some common examples of tissue biopsies include a Pap smear or skin biopsy. In many cases, the pathologists are looking for signs indicative of cancer.
There are many different types of biopsy methods, such as:
- Ultra-sound guided
Most times, tissue biopsy samples are taken via needle. Many times, biopsies are quick and relatively pain-free.
Sometimes, larger tissue samples are needed. In this case, the recommendation is a surgical procedure. After sending a biopsy to a lab, the results can either take a few hours or a few days.
Frozen Section Biopsy
The frozen section of pathology provides a better look at how technology has changed the field. Normally, 24 hours has been the standard time for receiving results on a biopsy.
Frozen section biopsy delivers results in less than an hour. This process works the best in conjunction with surgical procedures.
During surgery, surgeons remove tissues that seem suspicious – such as a mass – and send the sample directly to a pathologist. Once the pathologist receives the sample, it is placed on a specific machine. This machine freezes the bottom half of the tissue sample almost immediately.
The pathologists use a sample of the frozen tissue for a closer examination. Then, the pathologist can quickly give a report back to the physician on whether the tissue sample shows benign or malignant cancer cells.
Ultimately, this can change the course of the surgical procedure. If the malignant or benign tissues need removing, then closer examinations can be done following the procedure.
However, this method gives quicker results and can sometimes save patients from undergoing another surgery.
Frozen Section Pathology Studies
So – just how accurate is the frozen section of pathology? The last thing that health care practitioners want is to continue down the route of misdiagnoses.
One study examined the accuracy of frozen section pathology over the course of six years. In total, they looked at over 300 tissue samples. They found the frozen section to be extremely accurate and useful in surgical settings.
Almost 98% of frozen section diagnoses were permanent. Additionally, the test results boasted over a 98 percent positive predictive value.
Another study looked further into the accuracy and uses of frozen biopsies. They determined it was useful in surgeries, especially where needle aspiration tissue biopsies were not conclusive.
Additionally, in surgical procedures that found unexpected growths of tissue, this field was extremely helpful for a quick re-assessment. The researchers also pulled other studies into their research.
After reviewing many articles, they found that most facilities calculated more than a 92 percent accuracy rate. The frozen section has its own set of limitations. For example, sometimes it is necessary for spending longer lengths of time examining tissues.
However, the research shows that when quick assessment tools are needed – a pathologist can be extremely helpful.
Future of Medicine
Pathologists are redefining the field of medicine. A frozen section biopsy offers fast and accurate results when surgeons need it the most.
It is important that you have access to qualified and skilled pathologists who can provide you with clinical diagnoses. Don’t wait any longer – contact us today for a free consultation.