What Is Pathology?

What is Pathology? Pathology is a field of medicine that examines surgically removed organs, tissues (biopsy samples), physiological fluids. In some cases the entire body to research and diagnose illness (autopsy).

What Is Pathology?

:eight_pointed_black_star: What Is Pathology?

Pathology is the study of illness or damage and its causes and effects. Also known as the study of illness in general, pathology encompasses many different domains of biology and medicine.

Modern medicine, on the other hand, tends to use the term “pathology” in a more narrow sense to refer to procedures and tests that fall under the umbrella term “general pathology,” which encompasses a wide range of medical specialties that use tissue, cell, and body fluid samples to diagnose disease.

:small_red_triangle_down: Subdivisions Of Pathology

No. Type Names
1 Anatomical pathology
2 Clinical pathology
3 Dermatopathology
4 Forensic pathology
5 Hematopathology
6 Histopathology
7 Molecular pathology
8 Surgical pathology

In basic terms, pathology is concerned with the causes, methods of development (pathogenesis), structural abnormalities of cells (morphologic changes), and the effects of these changes.

Anatomical pathology and clinical pathology are two of the most prevalent disciplines in general pathology, which focuses on studying recognized clinical abnormalities that are indicators or precursors of both infectious and non-infectious illness.


Pathology is further divided into subspecialties based on the sample types involved (cytopathology, haematology, and histopathology), organs (renal pathology, for example), and physiological systems (as with forensic pathology).

:eight_pointed_black_star: Types Of Pathology

What Is Pathology?

Within the independent but intertwined goals of biological study and medical treatment, contemporary pathology is organized into a variety of subdisciplines Pathology is a medical specialty that requires a medical degree and a license to practice medicine in most areas of the globe to perform biomedical research.

Structurally, there are several subfields within medical research that focus on distinct systems, tissues, or scales in order to identify disease signs. As a medical specialty, pathology deals with diseases that affect the tissues of specific organs or structures.

However, each of these specializations is also the topic of extensive pathology research into the disease pathways of specific infections and illnesses.

:small_red_triangle_down: Anatomical pathology

Anatomic pathology is a medical specialty that examines organs, tissues, and complete bodies grossly, microscopically, chemically, immunologically, and molecularly to diagnose illness (as in a general examination or an autopsy).

Surgical pathology, cytopathology, and forensic pathology are the core subfields of anatomical pathology. It is one of two major sub-specialties of pathology, the other being clinical pathology, which involves diagnosing illness through laboratory study of physiological fluids and tissues. Pathologists can combine anatomical and clinical pathology, known as general pathology.

:small_red_triangle_down: Cytopathology

Cytopathology is a discipline of pathology that examines and diagnoses illness at the cellular level. Also used to diagnose cancer, thyroid lesions, disorders of sterile bodily cavities (peritoneal/pleural/cerebrospinal), and many other ailments.

Unlike histopathology, which investigates complete tissues, cytopathology uses samples of free cells or tissue fragments, and the tests are frequently dubbed smear tests because the samples are smeared on a glass microscope slide for staining and microscopic study. Alternatively, cytocentrifugation can be used to produce cytology samples.

:small_red_triangle_down: Dermatopathology

Dermatopathology is the study of the skin and the rest of the integumentary system as a part. It is unusual in that a physician can receive it in two ways. The word dermatopathologist refers to a general pathologist or dermatologist who has completed a 1–2 year fellowship in dermatopathology.

An accredited dermatopathologist must complete a fellowship before taking a subspecialty board test. On the basis of look, anatomy, and behavior, dermatologists can diagnose most skin illnesses. But if those criteria don’t work, a skin sample is collected to be analyzed under a microscope using standard histological testing.

Biopsies may require further testing such as immunofluorescence, immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy, flow cytometry, and molecular-pathologic analysis.

Pathologist dissecting a human abdomen and thorax in an autopsy room
Post-mortem examination of a body or fragmentary remains is the subject of forensic pathology. An autopsy is usually done by a coroner or medical examiner as part of a criminal inquiry.

The criteria for becoming a licensed forensic pathologist vary by region (and even within a country), but often a medical doctorate with a specialty in general or anatomical pathology is required.

:small_red_triangle_down: Histopathology

This high-magnification micrograph of a slice of heart tissue shows progressive cardiac amyloidosis. This sample came from an autopsy.
Histopathology is the microscopic study of human tissue. It is the pathologist’s assessment of a biopsy or surgical specimen after it has been processed and histological sections placed on glass slides.

Unlike cytopathology, which employs free cells or tissue pieces. Histopathology begins with surgery, biopsy, or autopsy. The tissue is taken from the organism and put in a fixative to prevent deterioration. Formalin is the most frequent fixative, but frozen section is also prevalent. To view the tissue under a microscope, the slices are stained.

:small_red_triangle_down: Neuropathology

Neuropathology examines diseases of the neurological system using surgical biopsies or autopsy of complete brains. A neuropathologist is a physician who has completed a fellowship in neuropathology after completing an anatomical or general pathology residency.

In everyday clinical practice, a neuropathologist advises other doctors. A biopsy of neural tissue from the brain or spinal cord is obtained to help diagnose a suspected nervous system disorder.

:small_red_triangle_down: Pneumopathology

The diagnosis and characterization of neoplastic and non-neoplastic disorders of the lungs and thoracic pleura are the focus of pulmonary pathology. Transbronchial biopsy, CT guided percutaneous biopsy, and video-assisted thoracic surgery are common diagnostic methods. These tests can help distinguish between infection, inflammation, and fibrosis.

:small_red_triangle_down: Renal pathology

Renal pathology is a specialty of anatomic pathology that deals with kidney diseases. They collaborate with nephrologists and transplant surgeons to acquire diagnostic specimens by percutaneous kidney biopsy.

To make a definite diagnosis, the renal pathologist must combine results from histology, electron microscopy, and immunofluorescence. Medicine affects the glomerulus, tubules and interstitial tissue, arteries or a combination of these.

:small_red_triangle_down: Surgical pathology

Stereotaxic brain biopsy This is done by vacuuming a tiny piece of the tumor.
Most anatomic pathologists do surgical pathology as well. General internists, medical subspecialists, dermatologists, and interventional radiologists are all involved in surgical pathology.

The best and most definitive proof of illness (or absence thereof) is often an excised tissue sample. These determinations are normally made using a combination of macroscopic and microscopic examinations of the tissue, as well as immunohistochemistry or other laboratory procedures.

:small_red_triangle_down: Clinical pathology

Clinical pathology is a medical specialty that focuses on the diagnosis of disease utilizing chemistry, clinical microbiology, haematology, and molecular pathology. Clinicians, hospital administrators, and referring physicians collaborate closely with clinical pathologists.

There’s a lot to clinical pathology! It addresses illness detection, treatment, and prevention. Clinical pathologists are specially trained doctors. They frequently run the lab’s unique divisions. This may include:

  • A donation center

  • Biochemistry and clinical chemistry

  • Toxicology

  • Hematology

  • immune and serological systems

  • Microbiology

Medical physicians, Ph.D.s, and doctors of pharmacology may all be referred to as “laboratory medicine specialists” in some cases. When it comes to studying an organism’s immunological response to infection, immunopathology falls under the purview of clinical pathology.

:small_red_triangle_down: Hematopathology

Hematopathology is the study of disorders of blood cells (including white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets), tissues, and organs. The hematopoietic system contains the bone marrow, lymph nodes, thymus, spleen, and other lymphoid tissues.

American Board of Pathology-licensed physicians who have completed an anatomic, clinical, or mixed general pathology residency and a one-year haematological fellowship practice hematopathology. Hematopathologists examine lymph nodes, bone marrows, and other tissues for hematopoietic cell infiltration. Hematologist may also be in charge of flow cytometry and/or molecular hematopathology.

:small_red_triangle_down: Molecular pathology

Molecular pathology examines molecules within organs, tissues, or physiological fluids to research and diagnose illness. Molecular pathology is a multidisciplinary field that includes anatomic pathology, clinical pathology, molecular biology, biochemistry, proteomics, genetics, and others.

For example, it is used to create molecular and genetic methods to illness diagnosis and categorization, as well as to discover and validate predictive biomarkers for therapy response and disease progression. The related area “molecular pathological epidemiology” represents the molecular pathology-epidemiology crossover. Commonly used in cancer and infectious illness diagnosis.

Many malignancies and viral disorders can be detected using molecular pathology. For example, genetic profiling of infections and bacterial genes for antibiotic resistance are among the techniques used. Techniques used analyze DNA and RNA samples. Diagnostic pathology is commonly employed in gene therapy.

:small_red_triangle_down: Maxillofacial pathology

Maxillofacial Pathology is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. They must next receive diplomate designation from the American Board of mouth and Maxillofacial Pathology.

The specialty includes odontogenic, infectious, epithelial, salivary gland, bone, and soft tissue disorders. It also connects with dental pathology. They are separate from otorhinolaryngologists (“ear, nose, and throat”) and speech pathologists, who assist identify numerous neurological or neuromuscular problems related to speech phonology or swallowing.


Many disorders in pathology can be identified, or at least suspected, by gross examination, but biopsies, cell smears, and other tissue studies remain significant diagnostic tools in pathology.

:eight_pointed_black_star: Pathology Tests

Pathology Tests

It is the study of illness and how to avoid it that is known as pathology. Testing samples of bodily tissue and fluids is a pathology specialized test that can help diagnose and treat disorders. The findings of these pathology tests assist doctors in making diagnoses and prescribing appropriate therapies.

On the other hand, simple pathology tests like blood tests are routinely performed as part of a medical checkup to ensure that the body is working normally. When it comes to diagnosing and treating a wide range of medical diseases, we rely heavily on pathology tests including blood testing and biopsies as well as several other pathology tests.

Some of the most often performed Pathology tests have become an integral component of our overall health.

  • Blood cell counts are provided by the CBC.

  • There are a number of tests that look at various liver enzymes and other substances generated or expelled by the liver to see if it’s working properly.

  • Thyroid Function Test is a diagnostic tool for determining if a person’s thyroid function is normal or abnormal.

  • In order to establish whether or not a patient has Tuberculosis (TB), the Mantoux Test is used.

  • In order to detect anomalies in biological secretions, stool and urine tests are performed.


For our health, pathology tests are an integral component of our daily routine. In the world of pathology, there are more than a thousand different tests. Nowadays, no medical therapy would be complete without a series of pathology lab tests.

:eight_pointed_black_star: Pathology Types for Non-humans

But although though pathology is primarily concerned with disease in humans, it is important to note that pathology is relevant to all branches of biology. Veterinary pathology and phytopathology are the two principal catch-all specialties for complex organisms that can host pathogens or other illness.

:small_red_triangle_down: Pathology of animals

Veterinary pathology encompasses a wide range of species, but the number of practitioners is substantially lower, therefore the understanding of illness in non-human animals, especially in terms of veterinary practice, differs greatly by species. ’ Because of these two main reasons, a considerable percentage of pathology research is undertaken on animals.

Understanding the mechanisms of action of infectious pathogens in non-human hosts is essential to the understanding and application of epidemiology, and 2) those animals that share physiological and genetic traits with humans can be used as surrogates for the study of the disease and potential treatments, as well as the effects of various synthetic products, on the human body.

:small_red_triangle_down: Pathology of plants

Plants are susceptible to a wide range of illnesses, including those caused, oomycetes, bacteria, viruses, viroids, virus-like organisms, phytoplasmas, protozoa, nematodes, and parasitic plants, despite the fact that the pathogens and their mechanics differ substantially from those of animals.

Plant pathology does not include damage caused by insects, mites, vertebrates, and other tiny herbivores. Plant disease epidemiology is a focus of this area, which also includes the horticulture of species with significant dietary or other human utilitarian relevance.


This is because of their roles as livestock and companion animals, mammals often have the most study in veterinary pathology. This approach remains contentious, even in circumstances where it is utilized to find a cure for human sickness. Anatomical pathology and clinical pathology are the traditional divisions in veterinary pathology, just as they are in human medical pathology.

:eight_pointed_black_star: Who is the pathologist?

Who is the pathologist

The pathologist is referred to be “the doctor’s teacher” for a simple reason. There are pathologists who do not treat patients on a regular basis, but rather serve as consultants to doctors in other fields.

At least four years of post-medical school training are required to become proficient in the use of cells and tissues, interpret microscopic images as well as results of molecular tests, accurately diagnose and predict the outcome of disease, as well as determine how a patient will respond to specific forms of treatment.

Pathologists are medical doctors. The primary health care team includes pathologists, despite the fact that they have minimal direct patient contact.

Scientific and technical expertise is essential for modern pathology laboratories, which must be staffed by highly qualified professionals in order to extract as much important information as possible from a relatively little cell or tissue sample.

Cells collected from bodily fluids, such as blood or urine, can then be studied in more detail. Preparations for the diagnosis of human papillomavirus infection or cervical precancer can be made by taking cells from the end of the uterus as specimens.

In order to collect a specimen, an endoscope or a needle might be used. If an autopsy is necessary, the entire corpse can also be taken apart and examined as a specimen.
Based on the tests required, multiple departments may be engaged in conducting the inquiry once samples have arrived at the laboratory.


As with any medical procedure, there are certain tests that may be completed in a matter of minutes, while others take days to complete. Some tests need the use of specialized labs.

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

People ask many questions about pathology. We discussed a few of them below:

:one: What does a pathologist do?

A pathologist is a doctor who specializes in the study of the body’s tissues and organs. He or she is also in charge of conducting laboratory testing. A pathologist is a vital element of the healthcare team since they assist in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

:two: What is the significance of pathology?

Clinical and nonclinical medical school students must understand the fundamentals of pathology as part of their overall education. In addition to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of illnesses, it is one of the many medical specializations with a wide range of job options.

:three: What is the total number of pathologies?

Pathology classifications. It is important to note that pathology is divided into three primary categories: anatomical, clinical, and molecular (or genetic). Even more subcategories can be found in pathology because there are so many different illnesses and methods for investigating them.

:four: What can pathology reveal to you?

When cells and tissues are examined under a microscope, a pathology report is generated. There may also include a description of how a specimen appears to the eye in its report. The disgusting description is what you’ll find here.

:five: What’s the use of a pathology test if I don’t need it?

Diagnose cancer, AIDS, diabetes, anemia (uh-NEE-meh), and coronary heart disease. Take the time to find out whether you are at risk for heart disease. If you’re taking medication, make sure it’s working. Assess your blood clotting ability.

:six: Does a pathologist need to have a medical degree to practice?

An approved bachelor’s degree is the initial step toward becoming a pathologist. However, you must complete the pre-medical courses, including biology, physics, English, and social sciences. You don’t need to pursue any specific major.

:seven: Who is the father of pathology?

During the 18th century, Giovanni Morgagni (1682-1771) was the world’s best pathologist. His name became known across the world as the father of modern pathology, and he became a household figure in his own Italy.

:eight: Every day, what does a pathologist do?

In the medical sector, a pathologist is a doctor who investigates illness and its causes, as well as its consequences. Every day, pathologists support doctors by providing them with the knowledge they need to provide the best possible care for their patients.

:nine: Is pathology a good career choice?

To describe it as “grim glamour” is an understatement; it’s both tough and gratifying. Bachelor’s and Master’s degree holders in pathology are projected to have greater job prospects compared to PhD holders. There will be an abundance of employment opportunities in industry, huge hospitals, and medical institutions.

:keycap_ten: What has happened to pathology throughout time?

There are two distinct periods in the history of pathology: The Islamic Golden Age, which happened during the Islamic Golden Age, and Europe’s Renaissance, which occurred during the Italian Renaissance.

:closed_book: Conclusion

The study of illness is known as pathology. It serves as a link between scientific research and medical practice. In every facet of patient care, from diagnostic testing and treatment recommendations to the use of cutting-edge genetic technology and disease prevention, it is at the heart of everything.

A pathologist is a medical professional who specializes in the examination of bodies and bodily tissues. In addition, he or she is in charge of conducting laboratory testing. A pathologist is a medical professional who assists other healthcare professionals in making diagnoses and is an important component of the treatment team.

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