Histology is the study that is focused on microscopically analyzing and examining the architecture and structure of cells and tissues, in relation to the rest of the cells and tissues in the body of living organisms. Be it on plants, animals or humans, every living tissue or cell needs to be carefully studied for the purposes of research, education, diagnosis and of course, disease prevention.
What are the Typical Roles of a Histologist ?
For histopathologists, histology is practiced mostly on living tissue and cell specimens from patients who have gone through surgeries, aspirations and outpatient operations and tests. Cells and tissue samples can also be extracted from deceased patients done during post-mortem analysis or examinations. A person who is suffering from certain medical condition may receive treatment based on the results of the diagnostic and microscopic tests done on their tissues or cells. Samples, which have been dosed with the right type of fixative compound to prevent destruction and degradation, will be sent to authorized laboratories for testing and research.
Examinations are done through placing specimens are properly and carefully processed in blocks made of paraffin, sliced thinly and placed under powerful microscopes in order to see their structural framework, behavior and anomalies. Some specimens are also flash-frozen in liquid nitrogen to keep the samples intact. The frozen samples will be checked on a regular basis to be able to check for developments while the patient is still in surgery or still in the process of going through a series of operations. There are other processes done on the samples; one of which is known as immunocytochemistry which is focused on successfully identifying the type of tumour or the family it belongs to. This will then be the basis of the pathologist and physician’s diagnosis.
For those who are suffering from tuberculosis and other respiratory ailments, histologists and their technicians look for the presence of disease causing microscopic organisms.
Members of the Histology Department
The histology department is made of 4 staff groups; and each section has specific roles to do in order to help patients to find the right nature, cause, behavior and cure for their diseases.
- Histopathologists – this group is composed of licensed medical practitioners, medical and clinical pathologists who are responsible for carrying out and recommending the needed diagnostic tests on the tissue and cell samples that have been obtained and sent to their labs. They are also play important roles in determining causes of death, medical research, consultancy, management and even medical education.
- Biomedical Scientists – they are responsible for executing all the necessary scientific processes in order to achieve the results that they are looking for. They prepare the samples and prescribe the methods of examining the tissues and cells sent to the lab.
- Associates and Laboratory assistants – they support the histologists and biomedical scientists in terms of being the ones who are helping prep the samples, place them on slides and keep records. For those who are more experienced in this field, they are handed more advanced tasks, which sometimes require them to handle the duties of their resident biomedical scientists, when there would be a need for them to step up.
- Anatomical pathology Assistants – these are professionals who are trained to be the right hand guys for the pathologists or histopathologists while in the process of post-mortem examinations.
Histology is a real game changer in the field of medicine, not just because of their really specific and high tech tools and methods, but also because of their ability to really study the cellular structures of the human body.