What are Pathology Tests?
Pathology is the scientific study of diseases. A pathology test is a diagnostic test that helps establish the nature and cause of a disease by examining body fluids, body tissues, or surgically removed organs for specific microorganisms, certain enzymes or proteins or any changes at the genetic level. A person trained in pathology is a pathologist who interprets the results of the tests and presents this information in the form of a clinical report.
Need for Pathology Tests
The pathology tests are necessary for the following reasons:
- Diagnosis and prognosis: They help identify the underlying cause of your symptoms as well as the type, stage, and factors causing the disease.
- Disease Screening: Early screening helps to prevent certain genetic disorders. Example: Diabetes or cancer may be inherited from your family and can be prevented by planning a healthy diet and active lifestyle.
- Treatment Monitoring: They help in assessing your response to treatment and your doctor may prescribe certain medications or change your current medications based on the pathology tests.
How do you Prepare for Pathology Testing?
Talk to your doctor about the medicines you are taking as you may have to stop taking some of them prior to a pathology test. Certain pathology tests may need fasting for a few hours or the night before the test.
Types of Pathology Tests
The common pathology tests include:
Blood tests can include complete blood count, vital nutrient levels, test for specific enzymes or hormones.
A tourniquet is wrapped above your elbow by your phlebotomist (a person specifically trained to collect blood). The pressure causes an increased volume of blood in the veins making them more prominent. The site of injection is cleaned by antiseptic liquid (spirit). A sterilised needle is inserted into the vein. Your phlebotomist collects the amount of blood required for the test. A cotton ball is pressed at the site of injection when the needle is withdrawn. You may need a small dressing if bleeding does not stop.
These tests are performed to look for certain nutrients, hormones, blood cells or microorganisms in the sample.
You are given a small bottle to collect your urine sample. You are generally asked to collect ‘midstream’ urine, which is the urine sample midway through urination. Wash your hands thoroughly after collecting the sample. Hand over the sample to the lab technician to perform the necessary tests.
These tests are performed to look for presence of bacteria, virus, parasites, blood, etc.
You are given a sample collection kit. The stool sample must not mix with the toilet water. Transfer required amount of sample to a clean container with the help of spoon provided in the kit. Close the container properly and follow the labelling instructions. Hand over the sample to the laboratory.
These tests may help in the diagnosis of certain lung infections such as tuberculosis.
A biopsy is a procedure in which a small sample of suspicious tissue or fluid within the body is removed and examined in the laboratory.You are instructed to cough up sputum from the lungs as much as possible into a collection cup.
A biopsy is a procedure in which a small sample of suspicious tissue or fluid within the body is removed and examined in the laboratory.
A biopsy is a procedure in which a small sample of suspicious tissue or fluid within the body is removed and examined in the laboratory.The different types of methods for obtaining a biopsy include:
- Tissue Scraping: This is the removal of cells from the surface layer of the suspicious tissue.
- Excisional Biopsy: This is the surgical removal of a piece of tissue for examination.
- Punch Biopsy: A special instrument is used to punch a hole in the skin to obtain the sample.
- Needle Biopsy: A hollow needle is used to obtain a sample from tissues underneath the skin.
- Endoscopic Biopsy: A tube like surgical device fitted with a camera is used to obtain a tissue sample.
- Fine Needle Aspiration: A fine needle is used to obtain cells from a suspicious growth.