Did you know that the frozen section procedure is one of the most common procedures used during surgery? But, what is the frozen section procedure?
Whether you’re new to the field of telepathology or already making use of telehealth practices, understanding the frozen section procedure is necessary.
When used with telepathology solutions such as digital pathology, the frozen section procedure is key to saving save lives in the operating room. The data collected is further used to help patients around the world!
Read with me to learn all about this unique procedure.
The Frozen Section Procedure Explained
During the frozen section procedure, doctors take a tissue sample. They ‘flash’ freeze it, then slice the sample into thin pieces to view under a microscope.
Surgeons do the procedure during surgery to assess the area they are performing on.
For example, consider a surgeon removing cancerous cells. The frozen section procedure allows the doctor to see more infected tissue in the body not visible to the naked eye.
If the doctor notices cancerous cells in the sample, they can remove them from the patient. This would better the patient’s chances of going into remission after surgery.
Doctors use the procedure for many ailments, not only cancer.
Surgeons can use this procedure to receive results in minutes and ensure they provide the best care to their patients. Doctors outside the operating room view the tissue sample via a live feed using telepathology.
Telepathology technology stores the data from the procedure. Doctors use it later for research or to draw comparisons to another patient.
History of the Procedure
Intraoperative frozen section is not a new procedure. In fact, it is a standard procedure used by surgeons for almost 200 years. Reportedly, Dr. Reimer pioneered the procedure in 1818.
The procedure has changed over time to improve results, but the basics have stayed the same. When doctors have questions during an operation, they use the frozen section procedure to examine further.
In the 1800s, doctors cut sections freehand using razors. The process was slow and dangerous. The samples were frozen in brine and ice solutions. It was useful to doctors, but it didn’t always have the best results.
By the late 19th century, doctors used microtomes to cut faster and improve the quality of the samples. Doctors could freeze the samples with carbon dioxide, ether spray, or other gases.
At this time, cancer became much more operatable than ever before because of its improvement. Using new elements to freeze the samples gave better results too.
Beginning in the 1970s, doctors started to use a cryostat in the procedure. The machine can keep samples cold using different methods such as baths with liquid helium or nitrogen. This method is still used today.
Frozen Section and Telepathology
With advancements in telepathology and digital technology, doctors worldwide study samples from frozen section procedures. The samples are viewed in real-time during surgery or stored for later use.
Telepathology scanners, digital pathology, and whole-slide imaging share the data with doctors and researchers. Medical professionals preserve and reexamine the data for years to come using these telepathology solutions.
Technicians use telepathology scanners to scan the sample in a high-resolution format. Significant advances in high-resolution data samples came about in recent years.
Once the sample is scanned, they are digitized. Doctors and healthcare professionals have access to an entire database of samples and slides from these procedures using digital pathology.
Pathology networks and organizations also have access to the data to use for research. The frozen section procedure is as important in medical research as in the operating room.
Whole-slide imaging (WSI) has also had major advancements recently. Now doctors can scan an entire slide sample rather than sections at a time. The technology uses specialized cameras to get different views of each sample.
Instead of static imagines, doctors have layers of images for each sample to view. This allows doctors to search for various ailments and diseases in the patient using one sample.
Using WSI technology, the samples from a frozen section procedure are of the highest quality yet.
Often, doctors need to make quick decisions when operating due to unforeseen circumstances.
Although it is a difficult procedure, it can be crucial to a successful operation. With current technology, the live feed allows doctors to give input without crowding the operating room.
Having many doctors in the room virtually during the surgery has benefits. Doctors can make the best decision for their patients with multiple expert inputs.
When inspecting small data sets and looking for slight discrepancies, a second eye is always useful.
Furthermore, when many experts are examining the data at once, new diagnoses can be found easier. As discussed, doctors and researchers use the data stored time and time again to look for similarities.
As the data complies, researchers can use algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) to diagnose patients even faster than before.
Data-sharing also leads to more efficiency in laboratories and better evaluations by doctors.
Being able to treat patients faster and with a higher quality of care is of utmost importance. It is easy to see why integrating the frozen section procedure with telepathology is beneficial.
The frozen section procedure cuts down on costs in the operating room too. Reducing the cost of surgery is a high priority for patient advocates.
As you have read, the frozen section procedure is essential to doctors when it surgery.
Thanks to technological advances, doctors use the samples and data collected from these procedures long after surgery. Digital pathology allows doctors to study further and research diseases.
If you want to know more about the telepathology services offered by Specialist Direct, contact us today.