A pathologist examines a tissue section for evidence of cancerous cells while a surgeon observes.
The advent of the microscope was one of the major developments in the history of pathology. Here researchers at the Centers for Disease Control in 1978 examine cultures containing Legionella pneumophila, the pathogen responsible for Legionnaire's disease.
A modern pathology lab at the Services Institute of Medical Sciences
A bone marrow smear from a case of erythroleukemia. The large cell in the top center is an abnormal erythroblast: it is multinucleated, with megaloblastoid nuclear chromatin This is diagnostic of erythroleukemia.
A malignant melanoma can often be suspected from sight, but confirmation of the diagnosis or outright removal requires an excisional biopsy.
Pathologist performing a human dissection of the abdominal and thoracic organs in an autopsy room
An instance of diagnosis via histopathology, this high-magnification micrograph of a section of cardiac tissue reveals advanced cardiac amyloidosis. This sample was attained through an autopsy.
This coronal cross-section of a brain reveals a significant arteriovenous malformation that occupies much of the parietal lobe.
This tissue cross-section demonstrates the gross pathology of polycystic kidneys.
Brain biopsy under stereotaxy. A small part of the tumor is taken via a needle with a vacuum system.
Clinical chemistry: an automated blood chemistry analyzer
Many conditions, such as this case of geographic tongue, can be diagnosed partly on gross examination, but may be confirmed with tissue pathology.
An anatomical pathology instructor uses a microscope with multiple eyepieces to instruct students in diagnostic microscopy.
This field post-mortem of a ewe has revealed lesions consistent with acute haemolytic pneumonia, possibly due to Pasteurella haemolytica.
A tobacco plant infected with the tobacco mosaic virus

Study of the causes and effects of disease or injury.

- Pathology

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Forensic pathology

The heart of a murder victim

Forensic pathology is pathology that focuses on determining the cause of death by examining a corpse.

Anatomical pathology

Medical specialty that is concerned with the diagnosis of disease based on the macroscopic, microscopic, biochemical, immunologic and molecular examination of organs and tissues.

Histopathology: microscopic appearance of invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast. The slide is stained with Haematoxylin & Eosin.
Histopathology: microscopic appearance of invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast. The slide is stained with an antibody (immunohistochemistry) against the oncogene Her2neu. The dark-brown reaction indicates that this tumor over-expresses this gene.
Cytopathology: microscopic appearance of a Pap test. The pink cell at the center with a large nucleus is abnormal, compatible with low-grade dysplasia.
Autopsy: a brain surrounded by pus (the yellow-greyish coat around the brain, under the dura lifted by the forceps), the result of bacterial meningitis.
Gross examination: appearance of the cut surface of a lung showing the honeycomb pattern of end-stage pulmonary fibrosis.
Gross examination: appearance of a colorectal polyp (the cauliflower-shaped tumor) attached to the colon mucosa (the horizontal line at the bottom).

Anatomical pathology is one of two branches of pathology, the other being clinical pathology, the diagnosis of disease through the laboratory analysis of bodily fluids or tissues.


Histopathology (compound of three Greek words: ἱστός histos "tissue", πάθος pathos "suffering", and -λογία -logia "study of") refers to the microscopic examination of tissue in order to study the manifestations of disease.

Micrograph showing contraction band necrosis, a histopathologic finding of myocardial infarction (heart attack).
Items used for submitting specimens: (Biopsy) wrap, (biopsy) sponge, (tissue processing) cassette and (biopsy) bag.

Specifically, in clinical medicine, histopathology refers to the examination of a biopsy or surgical specimen by a pathologist, after the specimen has been processed and histological sections have been placed onto glass slides.


A pair of micrographs of a cytopathology specimen showing a 3-dimensional cluster of cancerous cells (serous carcinoma)
Micrograph of a pilocytic astrocytoma, showing characteristic bipolar cells with long pilocytic (hair-like) processes. Smear preparation. H&E stain
A micrograph of an exfoliative cytopathology specimen (Pap test, Pap stain)
Brushes used to collect samples for cytology.

Cytopathology (from Greek κύτος, kytos, "a hollow"; πάθος, pathos, "fate, harm"; and -λογία, -logia) is a branch of pathology that studies and diagnoses diseases on the cellular level.


Process by which a disease or disorder develops.

Scanning electron micrograph of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a species of pathogenic bacteria that cause tuberculosis

Often, a potential cause is identified by epidemiological observations before a pathological link can be drawn between the cause and the disease.


Particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of all or part of an organism, and that is not immediately due to any external injury.

Scanning electron micrograph of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a species of pathogenic bacteria that cause tuberculosis
This rash only affects one part of the body, so it is a localized disease.
Regular physical activity, such as riding a bicycle or walking, reduces the risk of lifestyle diseases.
Obesity was a status symbol in Renaissance culture: "The Tuscan General Alessandro del Borro", attributed to Andrea Sacchi, 1645. It is now generally regarded as a disease.

The study of disease is called pathology, which includes the study of etiology, or cause.


Damage to the body caused by an external force.

Cat scratches on an arm
Deaths from injuries per million persons in 2012
Deaths from intentional injuries per million persons in 2012

Wound, an injury in which skin is torn, cut or punctured (an open wound), or where blunt force trauma causes a contusion (a closed wound). In pathology, it specifically refers to a sharp injury which damages the dermis of the skin.

Medical diagnosis

Process of determining which disease or condition explains a person's symptoms and signs.

Radiography is an important tool in diagnosis of certain disorders.
An example of a medical algorithm for assessment and treatment of overweight and obesity.

Detection of any deviation from what is known to be normal, such as can be described in terms of, for example, anatomy (the structure of the human body), physiology (how the body works), pathology (what can go wrong with the anatomy and physiology), psychology (thought and behavior) and human homeostasis (regarding mechanisms to keep body systems in balance). Knowledge of what is normal and measuring of the patient's current condition against those norms can assist in determining the patient's particular departure from homeostasis and the degree of departure, which in turn can assist in quantifying the indication for further diagnostic processing.

Rudolf Virchow

German physician, anthropologist, pathologist, prehistorian, biologist, writer, editor, and politician.

Young Virchow
Memorial stone of Rudolf Virchow in his hometown Świdwin, now in Poland
Illustration of Virchow's cell theory
Portrait of Rudolf Virchow by Hugo Vogel, 1861
Rudolf Virchow
Rudolf and Rose Virchow in 1851
Virchow with his son Ernst and daughter Adele
The tomb of Rudolf and Rose Virchow at Alter St.-Matthäus-Kirchhof
Hospital – Campus Virchow Klinikum, Cardiology Center

He is known as "the father of modern pathology" and as the founder of social medicine, and to his colleagues, the "Pope of medicine".

Medical specialty

Branch of medical practice that is focused on a defined group of patients, diseases, skills, or philosophy.

The School of Athens (1509–1511) by Raphael, depicting famous classical Greek philosophers in an idealized setting inspired by ancient Greek architecture.

Examples include children (paediatrics), cancer (oncology), laboratory medicine (pathology), or primary care (family medicine).