Histology and Your Skin
Your dermatologist may take a skin sample for testing in the histology lab. Histologists will process the tissue sample for the dermatologist to help verify that your skin is healthy.
The histologist stains and photographs the tissue sample called 'sections' so that an accurate diagnosis of skin cancer and other dermatological skin diseases can be made.
Histologists are specially trained scientists who perform the preparation of histological skin sections and are called Histotechnicians or Histotechnologists. Dermatologists use licensed Histology Technicians (HT), Histology Technologists (HTL) and Biomedical or Medical Laboratory Technicians who are trained in Histotechnology.
The technician uses the following procedure:
Fixation - is the process of stabilizing and preserving the skin tissue.
Processing - is usually performed with chemical agents that dehydrate and clarify the skin tissue.
Embedding - is the process of placing the soft processed skin tissue into a mold containing hot paraffin wax which is then allowed to cool and harden. Embedding is also done using frozen sections of skin by placing the processed skin tissue in a special liquid that solidifies when cooled in a freezer. Frozen sections are normally used when a patient is undergoing surgery and the skin sample is needed quickly.
Sectioning - is the process of slicing the skin tissue into very thin sections using a Microtome a cutting machine used by histology labs for the purpose of sectioning skin tissue sample. Frozen tissue sections embedded in a special freezing liquid is cut on a specially cooled Microtome called a Cryostat. The thin skin slices are then placed on a glass slide for staining.
Staining - is the process of coloring the skin tissue sections to give contrast to the tissue being examined by the dermatologist. Without staining it is very difficult to see differences in the skin cell. Hematoxylin and Eosin are the most commonly used staining agents used in histology labs. Hematoxylin colors the nuclei blue while Eosin colors the cytoplasm pink. Digital cameras are normally used to photgraph and archive histological images.
After staining, the dermatologist is better able to examine the skin tissue under a microscope to assist with diagnosis. Other advanced histotechnology techniques are also used to help identify specific DNA or RNA molecules.
Need a good Mohs Technician (ASCP) - Mohs Histotechnologist
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