For Patients

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Histotechnologist?

Histotechnologists are individuals technically trained to process tissue samples and perform various special staining techniques to assist pathologists in making their diagnosis. Histotechnologists usually possess a bachelor’s degree in a science related field. An additional year of special histology training either through coursework or on-the- job training is received before finally taking a board certification exam through the American Society for Clinical Pathology.

What happens after my doctor performs a biopsy?

Your physician recommends a biopsy to better understand your medical condition. A biopsy involves removing a small sample of your tissue. After your doctor takes the biopsy, the tissue sample is placed in formalin (a special fixative which preserves your tissue). Here, your tissue sample is evaluated and described. Specialized technologists process the sample through a series of chemical solutions and embed the tissue in a wax mold. With a special knife, the mold is cut into very thin slices which are mounted on clear glass slides. Thin slices must be stained with special dyes to make them visible for examination through a microscope by a pathologist. The tiny individual cells that make up tissue are now visible and can be evaluated. The shape and arrangement of these cells allow the pathologist to make a diagnosis. After the pathologist completes his/her diagnosis, a written report is sent to your doctor. Each tissue sample is unique, and some take longer to examine than others. Your physician will notify you of the pathology results and if further treatment is necessary. If your billing information is provided by your physician’s office, your pathology lab will bill your insurance carrier on your behalf. You may receive a bill from the lab for that portion of the test that is not covered by your insurance.

What is Anatomic Pathology and who is the Pathologist?

Pathology is a medical specialty involving the examination of tissues under a microscope. Pathologists are medical doctors who complete a 4 year residency for pathology. An additional 1-2 year fellowship is required for a subspecialty. The pathologist is trained to visually identify and diagnose hundreds of diseases including cancer. A detailed pathology report is written containing both a macroscopic and microscopic description. The macroscopic description is referred to as the “gross” description. This involves inspection of the tissue upon its arrival to the laboratory. It is weighed, measured and its’ characteristics are described as it is seen with the naked eye. The microscopic description includes the diagnosis and any special details the pathologist sees on the microscope slide of the cellular material. Your physician uses this report to determine treatment which may be necessary for your health.

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Proudly Serving the Pee Dee Region of South Carolina

Pee Dee Pathology owns and operates two anatomic pathology laboratories in Florence, SC & Myrtle Beach, SC where evaluations of surgical and cytological specimens are performed.

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