How Pathology and Radiology Correlate With Each Other
Pathology and radiology are two divisions in the medical field that combine to help diagnose and treat people suffering from various ailments. Many times, the two are used in conjunction with each other to determine a patient’s exact condition and find the best method of treatment. Without each other, an incomplete picture of a patient’s condition would be generated, and proper treatment would not be able to be implemented. The two are essential to each other.
Radiology is the division of medicine in which various forms of imaging are used to diagnose and treat patients. Some of the main forms used are x-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds, MRIs and PACS Radiology for in depth analysis. These techniques use various forms of technology to create images of the internal structure of the human body. They image bones, organs, surrounding tissue, and many other things. By looking at the condition and morphology of these structures, radiologists are able to better assess what is wrong with a patient, so they can receive a more accurate diagnosis and better treatment.
Pathology is the branch of medicine that examines tissues, organs, and bodily fluids to help with the diagnosis and treatment of illness. Currently, there are eight main divisions of pathology, and they include general, anatomical, clinical and chemical pathology, as well as genetics, hematology, immunology and microbiology. In contrast to radiology, pathology is a very laboratory based branch of medicine. It relies on tests of tissues, cells, and bodily fluids, as well as histological sections of organs, bones and other tissues to provide insight into a patient’s prognosis.
How Do They Correlate?
Despite being very different fields of medicine, radiology and pathology are essential to each other when it comes to accurately diagnosing and treating patients. Neither an image nor a test alone can provide a clear picture of what is wrong with most patients. Instead, a multi-disciplinary approach that uses both techniques is needed. This is especially true in people suffering from various forms of cancer.
One specific example of when this is necessary is in breast cancer. Various studies have shown that integrating radiology and pathology leads to a decrease in misdiagnosis where breast cancer is concerned. When a mammogram is performed and a lump is found, a biopsy is generally taken from the patient’s breast tissue. This tissue is examined by a pathologist to verify if it is benign or malignant and what stage and type of cancer it might be. The location and features of a tumor imaged by the radiologist, together with the morphologic details determined by the pathologist, determine the exact type of tumor present. Knowing the exact tumor helps provide the doctors with the best method of treatment, and it gives the patient a higher chance of survival. Because of this, it is essential for the two teams to work together to confirm a diagnosis. Otherwise, more instances of misdiagnosis will arise, which can potentially lead to the death of a patient. Radiological images and pathological samples together form a more accurate diagnosis for patients. In order to help with multidisciplinary treatments, specific technology is used to save and access files.
Because radiologists and pathologists must work together to provide accurate diagnoses, it is essential that all of their files can be read and viewed by all appropriate parties. In medical settings, vendor neutral archives (VNA) are used to achieve this. VNAs are used to create a standard interface and standard file formats for the various types of files generated by both the radiology and pathology teams. Without them, it would be much more difficult for the teams to seamlessly work together because they would need access to specific programs to be able to read and assess the files and charts of patients. Instead, they are all located in one standard location, so the results can easily be compared, allowing for better treatment of patients.
Radiology and pathology are two sides of the same coin. Without one, the other would not be whole. The images produced by a radiologist and samples tested by the pathologist come together to provide a clear picture of what is ailing a patient. Without each other, medical diagnoses would be incomplete and patients would not receive the best care.