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What is histopathology and why is it important?

Histopathology is the examination of biological tissues in order to observe the appearance of diseased cells in microscopic detail.

Histopathology typically involves a biopsy, which is a procedure involving taking a small sample of tissue, usually undertaken by a pathologist, who are experts in diagnoses of diseases.

Histology slides must be prepared

Histopathology involves the preparation of histology slides, which is arguably the most integral element of the process. These slides are what will ultimately be examined under the microscope, and so their meticulous preparation is no mean feat.

The preparation of histology slides is usually a five stage process; the stages are: fixing, processing, embedding, sectioning and last but by no means least, staining.

Sectioning is integral

Sectioning in particular is important as sufficiently thin slices must be prepared in order to enable clear and accurate observation of the minute cell detail, considering electron microscopy or light microscopy both analyse detailed tissue microstructure.

Sectioning typically involves using instruments called microtomes – which can be combined with freezing units or cryostats if frozen sections are required – which cut to a measurement known as a micron (μm), and the thickness of cuts required varies depending on analysis techniques and other factors, such as tissue type.

Histopathology is vital

The importance of histopathology cannot be understated – this discipline is absolutely vital to the understanding and detection of diseases, which ultimately broadens and progresses treatment options in the majority of instances. Where little is understood, tireless work in the laboratory means a more granular understanding can be developed and eventually, ‘eureka’ moments are born.

At the cutting edge of sectioning technology

At Bright Instruments, we draw great inspiration from the work of those ‘in the field’, and design our cutting edge sectioning equipment with end-users in mind. It is possible to view our range of machines here.

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