Cytopathology is a subspecialty of anatomic pathology that applies the principles of cytology (the study of cells) and its relation to pathologic disease.
Cytopathologists utilize the diagnostic technique of cytopathology to analyze/interpret individual cells, cellular patterns and non-cellular material obtained from various body sites to achieve a diagnosis from patient sample(s).
These include the detection of malignant or premalignant conditions, benign conditions including benign tumors and infectious or inflammatory processes. Samples are collected from masses using a fine needle aspiration (FNA) technique, by scraping or brushing a suspected area and by fluid collection such as urine. Samples are submitted to the cytology laboratory for preparation of cellular material on to glass slides by using cellular concentration methods or smears, stained using Papanicolaou and/or Hematoxylin and Eosin stains and cover slipped to preserve specimen integrity.
Once the specimen is processed the cells are microscopically examined for disease.
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