Let’s debunk the pathology myths

Pathology is a branch of medical science which primarily focuses on the origin, nature and cause of disease. It involves the examination of tissues, organs, blood and body fluids in order to diagnose the disease. Many major advances have been made by pathologists from the past few years, for example, in the successful treatment of cancer, ensuring safe blood transfusions, developing vaccines against infectious diseases, etc.

Pathology plays a vital role throughout our lives, from pre-conception to post mortem. It falls under various specialities and each of these specialities has a different appeal and combination of laboratory and clinical work. The main specialities of pathology are as below:

  • Histopathology (the study of disease in human tissue through surgery, biopsy, or autopsy.)
  • Medical microbiology (the study of infection), immunology & molecular biology PCR techniques)
  • Chemical pathology ( the study of the biochemical basis of disease)
  • Haematology (the study of disorders of the blood)

Debunking the pathology myths

Results are instant
Some people believe that laboratory test results are all about a matter of few minutes – it’s not quite that simple though. It takes time to analyze the samples for pathologists. In fact the guy promising instant results might not be doing his job! There is always a prioritization done for testing. Urgent reports are provided to those more sick and serious. Some tests are routine and results could be provided the next day. Sometimes, the procedure of the test itself might be time consuming and need more time. For example tissues need to be processed for 14 hrs and thereafter blocks prepared, cut, stained and interpreted. Its obvious that this would take 2 days atleast in most cases.
Technological advances in the medical laboratories have made it possible to come up with the much quicker results, but they aren’t instant though.

It is all about blood tests

Although it is the most common sample required by the pathology labs, but pathology laboratories test wide variety of samples. These samples can be urine, saliva, sputum semen and other bodily fluids. It can be tissue extracted via biopsy.

General Practitioners are pathologists

Patients usually assume that their general practitioner performs the tests on their samples.
Pathologists are MDs who do their post graduation after basic medical MBBS degree from a medical school in India. In the USA all MDs are done after medical school. No degree is given soon after medical school in USA; these are awarded after a straight on ward MD in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology or any other field of medicine for that matter. Therefore a pathologist has done an MD in Lab Medicine and hence is a specialist trained in it. Some MBBS doctors go on to do an MD in microbiology only (field which entails study and isolation of infectious microbes i.e germs/bugs) and some MBBS doctors do exclusively clinical biochemistry which is study of biochemical tests. While microbiologists and biochemists are not able to interpret tissue changes and cancer under microscope, the MD pathologists can do all fields of Lab Medicine as they are trained in all fields of lab medicine including autopsy study.A pathologist runs a lab with help of lab technicians whom they train. These technicians directly are trained by the pathologist to do most tests on the machines/ manually. The pathologist also ensures that the technicians run quality controls on their machines on a scheduled basis and that all machines are calibrated from time to time. It is essential to get performance checks done or else any machine will give you some test result which you cannot rely upon. The quality of kits and reagents as well as maintenance of these machines is the responsibility of the pathologists. Microscopy is exclusively interpreted by a pathologist.

Pathology Lab in Mohali (Chandigarh), India

Amulya Labs Chandigarh, India is here to improve patient health with safe, hygienic, efficient, timely, equitable laboratory practices. The mission of Amulya Labs is to have a healthier population with screening and diagnostic tests. We have a strong foundation of knowledge, skill and state-of-the-art facilities and are recognized for excellence in Histopathology and Clinical Laboratory diagnosis.