Virtual Histology – Reducing Need For Skin Biopsies

Your dermatologist takes photographs of a suspicious-looking lesion and rapidly produces a detailed, microscopic image of the skin instead of surgically extracting a sample of skin, sending it to a lab, and waiting several days for findings. Such an imaging method could become routine in clinics due to a new “virtual histology” technology.

This method skips several traditional diagnostic processes, such as skin biopsy, tissue fixation, processing, sectioning, and histochemical staining. Biopsied, histochemically stained skin slices photographed on microscope slides appear in the images.

Virtual histology technology, which has been in development for more than three years, could open up a new route for the rapid diagnosis of malignant skin tumors, lowering the frequency of unnecessary invasive skin biopsies and enabling earlier skin cancer diagnosis. This approach was previously limited to microscopy slides containing unstained tissue obtained from a biopsy. For the first time, the researchers have used virtual histology on intact, non-biopsied tissue.

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