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Cellular Pathology

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Cellular Pathology Services at the OUH (Histopathology and Diagnostic Cytology) no longer issue any paper reports.

All reports are available on EPR, CaseNotes and via current GP messaging services.

Measurement of uncertainty

As a qualitative science it is important that measurements included in reports are understood from a clinical perspective.

Histopathological examination involves assessing and measuring features of a specimen that are evident to the naked eye externally and on cut surfaces, and microscopy of very thin (less than 0.01mm) sections of selected areas.

Whilst the aim is that any measurement taken is a useful guide to the true size of the feature, even when the feature can be measured to a high level of precision the nature of these sampling methods limits the achievable accuracy.

Clinicians need to be aware of the difference between being able to take precise measurements (e.g. to several decimal places) from a feature on a histological section, and the accuracy of that sampled area in representing the largest or smallest part of the whole feature.

Measurements of histopathological specimens as part of the description of the sample received are considered approximate.

Where measurements are to be used to inform diagnostic, prognostic or treatment plan decisions, variation will be reduced as much as possible and the limitations of the method of measurement shared to make sure these are fully understood.

Please note:

  • Training, methods and procedures are standardised and audited to reduce variables.
  • Standardised tools will be used for clinically critical measurements requiring a high level of precision (traceable to a known measurement standards).
  • Measurements made on the gross specimen are correlated with those seen under the microscope where necessary.
  • Results are discussed in MDT meetings in conjunction with clinical information, radiology results and other laboratory tests.
Last reviewed:07 December 2021