Cell Pathology – Histology

Histopathology is the study of organs and tissues to determine disease processes that may be present.

Tissue sections are cut and stained on glass slides so that cellular detail can be visualised under a microscope.

Cell Pathology - Histology Department Equipment Cell Pathology - Histology Department Equipment

A team of medically qualified Histopathologists perform microscopic examination of tissue sections. Some tissue samples such as liver or bone marrow require specialised staining to provide more information to aid the diagnosis. Other tissues such as lymph node or skin require even more specialised staining techniques to demonstrate immunological markers. This technique is called immunocytochemistry and can be an aid in the differential diagnosis of cancers or disease.

Tissue samples come from a wide range of sources including hospital Operating Theatres, Day Surgery Units, Endoscopy and Colposcopy Units, outpatient clinics and GP surgeries.

The department is a UKAS accredited medical laboratory. No 9009. We are accredited to ISO 15189:2012 by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service.

Cell Pathology - Histology Department Staff Working

About Histology

We receive a variety of specimens in the laboratory from various parts of the body. These specimens can range from small biopsies taken in clinic to larger resection specimens taken in theatre. The majority of specimens that we receive are in a preservative called Formalin.

Tissue samples received within the laboratory are prepared and handled by Biomedical Scientists and Pathologists.

Specimens that are received in the laboratory that require dissection are dissected by the Pathologist following the Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath) guidelines.

A typical pathway for a Histology Sample:

Cell Pathology - Histology, pathway for a histology sample.

Foetal Specimens

Here are some important links for users regarding foetal specimens and how to send them, including documentation to print off for reference, if you require any guidance or additional information please contact the Mortuary or Histology via Switchboard 01253 300000.

Specimen Turn Around Times

Specimens that are received in the department are dealt with by priority. The department prioritises cases that are clinically urgent and those received from patients under investigation for cancer as part of the Faster Diagnosis Standard (FDS).

Performance Target – required standard of a 10-day histology report for patients on a cancer pathway.

Our aim is to report cases as quickly as possible with an excellent quality of service, however sometimes the complexity of an individual case will increase the time taken to issue results.

The length of time a specimen takes to be reported may be influenced by several factors and technical issues including:

  • Type of specimen
  • Size of specimen
  • Some cases received may be more complex and will need special investigations and further work performing on them to aid diagnosis
  • Some cases may need extra fixation
  • Incorrectly labelled cards, request forms or specimen pots.

Please contact the department directly for current turnaround time data by speciality.

Quality Assurance

The Histopathology department is committed to ensuring patients and users get the highest quality of service.  We regularly perform quality control and internal audits, and also participate in the following national quality assurance schemes which include:

UK NEQAS for Cellular Pathology Techniques and Immunohistochemistry Techniques (staining quality)

Quality Reporting System  (Tissue Processing Quality)

Laboratory Location and Working Hours

We are located on the first floor of the Pathology building.

Service hours: Monday – Friday, 8.00am – 5.15pm.

A UKAS accredited Medical Laboratory; No. 9009

Click here to view our schedule of accreditation.