Surgical Pathology and Autopsy

Surgical Pathology

The Section of Surgical Pathology staff provides overall diagnostic coverage for the frozen section service, in-house biopsy and surgical specimen service and outside and consultation cases. More than 40,000 inside surgical / biopsy cases and approximately 30,000 outside cases are handled each year.

Subspecialty diagnostic services are provided for all specimens with services: Breast, Gastrointestinal, Genitourinary, Gynecology, Bone/Soft Tissue, Skin, Thoracic, Head and Neck and Neuropathology. Hematopathology is a separate department, but also with subspecialty coverage.

The frozen section suite is a laboratory situated adjacent to the operating rooms. Surgical Pathology provides rapid frozen section diagnosis for surgeries performed in the operating room or in the outpatient clinics. A staff pathologist and three fellows are present from 7:00 a.m. until the last surgery requiring frozen sections is completed. In addition, some frozen section specimens, such as hematopathology, bone pathology and neuropathology, are handled by their respective expert staff.

About one hundred frozen sections are performed daily. Approximately 150 cases (360 specimen) are accessioned daily.  When requested, tissue is harvested for research purposes, and this is expected to increase markedly with initiation of institutional tissue banking. These research cases are collected, many under sterile conditions, at the time of dissection.

The final surgical pathology materials are reviewed initially by the fellow who later brings the case to the staff pathologist for completion. In order to expedite the diagnosis, biopsies are evaluated within 24 hours by the staff and fellow together.


The Autopsy Service serves multiple important functions. In addition to routine autopsy reports, this section provides sources of material for many research activities, including retrospective studies of various diseases, case reports, comparative tissue studies and studies of various physiologic functions related to malignant disease. The service provides tissue for virologic, biochemical, molecular and electron microscopic studies.

Autopsy Service performs approximately 80 cases a year. About 85% of the cases are patients with hematologic malignancies. All these autopsies are formally discussed with the members of the hematology service in a weekly mortality conference.