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Frozen section

General principles

Author: Jessica Wallace (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 11 October 2011, last major update October 2011
Copyright: (c) 2011, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

General principles

● A frozen section (cryosection) is a pathological laboratory technique used for rapid microscopic analysis/diagnosis of a specimen/disease
● Usually used with oncologic surgery
● Rapid diagnosis can guide intra-operative patient management

Why perform a frozen section:
● Provide rapid gross or microscopic diagnosis to identify an unknown pathologic process, identify extent of disease / evaluate margins, identify metastases or simply identify a tissue
● Process tissue to provide appropriate and accurate diagnosis, prognosis and to adhere to research and special study protocols
● Confirm that pathological tissue is present for diagnosis on permanent sections

Why NOT to perform a frozen section:
● Frozen section diagnosis has no immediate implications for decision making
● Tissue is needed for permanent processing (is unique or small or requires extensive study for diagnosis)
● Frozen section is known to produce severe artifacts that hinder proper interpretation
● Tissue is heavily ossified / calcified
● Risk of serious infection (HIV, TB, Hepatitis B or C)

End of Frozen section > General principles

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