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What are Pathology Physicians?

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Pathology physicians specialize in the examination of body parts and whole bodies of the deceased in order to determine information about the diagnosis of disease and possible causes of death. There are two branches of pathology. One is clinical pathology. This is the laboratory analysis of body fluids (such as urine and blood) and tissue using methods and tools of microbiology, chemistry, molecular pathology and hematology, in order to diagnose disease. Clinical pathology physicians must complete a medical residency. After medical board certification they work along with hospital administrations, medical technologists and referring physicians to maintain the highest standards in laboratory testing.

Pathology Physicians Can Choose Subspecialties:

  • Clinical hematology – this involves a number of blood tests including blood cell count, the treatment of blood diseases such as hemophilia and the study and practice of blood transfusions.
  • Clinical chemistry – this is the branch of pathology that deals with the study of bodily fluids.
  • Hematopathology – this is the study of blood cells, bone marrow and tissue.
  • Clinical microbiology – this is a medical branch of biology that deals with the study of bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi that cause disease.
  • Molecular diagnostics – this is the study of DNA and RNA to diagnose diseases.
  • Proteomics – this is the study of proteins and their relations to disease.

The other group of pathology physicians is anatomical pathologists. Anatomical pathologists study and diagnose diseases based on chemical and molecular examination of tissues and organs.

Pathology physicians often practice both and anatomical and clinical pathology. Such a combination is known as general pathology. Many areas of the two fields overlap and both types of pathology physicians are permitted to serve as medical directors of laboratories that are CLIA certified.

Both types of Pathology Physician will be responsible for:

  • Flow cytometry – this is a technique used for examining and counting chromosomes, cells and other microscopic particles. This procedure is routinely used to diagnose disorders such as blood cancers.
  • Immunoassays – these are biochemical tests to measure the concentration of substances in urine and blood serum.
  • Cytogenetics – this is the branch of genetics that is used to examine cell structure and functions.
  • Microbiology – this is the study of microscopic organisms.

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