Surgical pathology is the most significant and time-consuming area of practice for most anatomic pathologists. Surgical pathology involves the gross and microscopic examination of surgical specimens, as well as biopsies submitted by surgeons and non-surgeons such as general internists, medical subspecialists, dermatologists, and interventional radiologists.
The practice of surgical pathology allows for definitive diagnosis of disease (or lack thereof) in all cases where tissue is surgically removed from a patient. This is usually performed by a combination of gross (i.e., macroscopic) and histologic (i.e., microscopic) examination of the tissue, and may involve additional testing of the tissue by immunohistochemistry or other laboratory tests.
Surgical pathology is a consultative service to the treating physician that involves much more than the mere conducting of a laboratory test. Your pathologist is, therefore, a critical member of your health care team. The accurate microscopic interpretation is absolutely essential to the selection of the most appropriate treatment plan for your patient.