Pediatric pathology is a specialty that studies cell samples to diagnose children's medical conditions that may not be apparent from patients' symptoms or physical appearance. Pediatric pathologists use advanced laboratory equipment such as powerful microscopes to examine the structure and health of samples where irregularities may indicate that a child has a certain disorder or illness.
Pediatric pathologists are physicians who have received training in pathology and pediatrics and can engage in a variety of pathology specialties, each of which focuses on a specific type of test or group of diseases. For example, pediatric pathologists may subspecialize in:
If a child is suspected or at risk of having a disorder, his or her pediatrician may collect and send a sample to a pediatric pathology lab. Such samples may be collected through blood draw, biopsy (small amount of removed tissue), and fine needle aspiration (fluid drawn from a thin needle), among other techniques. Pediatric pathologists may use microscopic examination to visually analyze patient samples. More advanced techniques clinical pathologists may use include:
Pediatric pathologists may work alongside pediatricians, cytogeneticists, clinical pathologists, pathology lab technicians, and other medical professionals.