Mayo Clinic is one of the only medical centers in the nation to use a tissue freezing process for analyzing operating room tissue samples on a routine basis. The process allows pathologists to rapidly analyze and diagnose tissue samples while the patient is still in the operating room. The rapid turn-around of results saves patients time and money, since one surgery at Mayo can take the place of two or three procedures at other institutions.
How it works
During an operation, tissue is transferred to the frozen tissue lab directly from the operating room. There, it is placed on a freezing microtome machine where the bottom of the sample is frozen within seconds. A razor-thin slice of tissue is extracted from the frozen section, prepared on a slide and placed under the microscope for review. In many other medical centers, this process takes at least 24 hours to complete.
After reviewing the sample, the pathologist conveys the test results to the surgeon in the operating room. Immediately, the Mayo Clinic surgeon can adjust the operation accordingly and avoid unnecessary re-operations.