Surgical Tests

Welcome to our patient information page for Histology (Surgical Tests)

Whether you've been scheduled for surgery and want to know more about what happens to your surgical specimen, or are simply browsing-we hope you find all the information you need. If you do need anything additional, please contact us, or fill out a feedback form to let us know.

Laboratory Hours

Regular laboratory hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Contact Information

Main Laboratory


360-425-5620, 1-800-782-0625

Fax 360-423-1142
Location Address 720 14th Avenue, Longview, WA 98632

Histology Glossary

Histology The study of tissue. Your entire body is made up of different types of tissue-bone, skin, nerve, muscle, etc. The histology laboratory is located in the pathology department of a hospital or a private laboratory.
Pathology The study of disease, particularly the structural and functional changes in cells, tissues and organs of the body, which will lead to or are caused by disease. A pathologist is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis of disease.
Pathologist A physician who is highly trained in the recognition and diagnosis of both normal and diseased tissue. They are the directors of laboratories, and they make diagnosis in the operating room by performing what is called a frozen section. They also perform diagnosis in the histology laboratory by analyzing tissue from a patient to determine whether or not a disease process is involved. If a disease is involved, the pathologist may perform certain tests on the tissue to help determine the exact type of disease in order to help the patient's clinician choose effective treatments.
Histotechnologist or Histology Technician Prepares and stains tissue sections from surgical and autopsy tissue. The microscopic slides are then taken to the pathologist for interpretation. In addition to the knowledge and technical ability required, the technician must have a strong sense of responsibility toward the patient. Conscientious handling of tissue and care in producing the best possible slides can affect and improve the accuracy of the diagnosis.
Fixative A chemical that must do everything a preservative does, plus modify tissue constituents in such a way that they retain their form when subjected to treatment that would damage them in their initial state.
Accessioning Verifying patient information; identifying type of tissue specimen; dating and assigning lab identification number.
Grossing Pathologist dictates the description of appearance of tissue specimen. Size, shape, color, and texture of tissue received. They then take a sampling of the specimen for processing.

A Biopsy's Journey Through the Histology Laboratory

  • Patient is biopsied-tissue is placed in fixative solution.

  • Specimen is brought to the lab by the courier service.

  • Histotechnologist or assistant identifies, accessions and records the tissue.

  • Pathologist selects a portion of the specimen for histologic processing and diagnosis.

  • The biopsy tissue sample is preserved in proper chemical fixative.

  • Tissue processing:

    • Fixation, Dehydration, Clearing, Infiltration-takes place in a tissue processor. The process takes approximately 12-15 hours and is completed overnight.

    • The tissue is embedded in paraffin.

    • The paraffin block containing tissue is cut on a microtome in microthin slices and mounted on a glass slide.

    • Routine staining is performed and then they are coverslipped.

    • Non-routine staining is performed on some specimens for:

      • specific tissue structures

      • metabolic by-products

      • specific cellular morphology

      • infectious microorganisms

      • endogenous and/or exogenous pigments

  • The pathologist receives the stained slides for interpretation and diagnosis.

  • Transcriptionists type and generate pathology report from pathologist findings.

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