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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 7-16

Recent Methods and Techniques in Diagnostic Histopathology: The Impact on Tropical Pathology Practice

Department of Pathology, University College Hospital, Ibadan, NIGERIA

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Background : The practice of diagnostic histopathology in the Tropics is beset by numerous challenges, including a dearth of anatomical pathologists, and inability to retain both locally and foreign-trained pathologists. Several inhabitants of the region have no access to any form of healthcare, let alone pathology services. This review article examines trends in the practice of histopathology in a developing country in the Tropics. Materials and methods: A critical review of the MEDLINE and other online and published resources was undertaken. Results: The role of various diagnostic tools in autopsy and surgical pathology are outlined and the current availability of these modalities is discussed. The haematoxylineosin method remains the basic minimum for histological diagnosis, assisting in the choice of more specific techniques. Histochemical staining methods have a critical role to play in several diagnostic scenarios, particularly in the resource-limited setting of third world economies. There is a trend of increasing availability of hands-on immunohistochemical staining in several indigenous histopathology laboratories. However, more sophisticated capital intensive methods such as electron microscopy, flow cytometry, and molecular genetics procedures are still largely research methodologies, even in the most developed countries, and remain outside the scope of routine diagnostic practice in the tropical setting for a long while yet. Conclusions: It is hoped that newly discovered surrogate immunohistochemical markers for specific genes will in the near future be added to the arsenal of the routine histopathology laboratory of developing countries such as Nigeria.

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