Common and Challenging Diagnostic Dilemmas
on Frozen Section Service

October 4-7, 2019

Available Credits: 24 CME, 24 SAM

Course Description

Frozen section diagnosis can be challenging, particularly when the pathologist is handling the case alone. This difficulty may be compounded by dramatic and irreversible surgical implications. Frozen section interpretation is totally based on the histologic features since ancillary testing, including immunohistochemistry and molecular studies are not available. Time is crucial to make a confident diagnosis because the patient is on the operating table under general anesthesia, and the surgeon needs to know a specific answer to make a decision on the subsequent procedure. This is one of the times that a pathologist guides the hands of a surgeon.

The intra-operative consultation service is a critical component of a hospital-based pathology practice; it involves every sub-specialty surgery and almost every organ/system. A solid general pathology foundation is essential; keeping updated on new entities is extremely valuable.

Although books and chapters on frozen section diagnosis are available, organized lectures are rarely focused on frozen section diagnostic skills and pitfalls, particularly in the molecular era. Intimate mentoring around the microscope mimicking real time frozen section analysis has not been previously used.

This course addresses diagnosis under pressure and provides practicing pathologists and pathologists-in-training with guidance on how to handle diagnostic dilemmas on the frozen section service, avoid equivocation and effectively communicate with surgeons.

Course Objectives

  • Understand the common clinical scenarios and indications that frozen section diagnoses aid in determining the surgical procedure.
  • Become familiar with the common and critical artifacts to avoid misinterpretation.
  • Improve diagnostic skills during the frozen section procedure with enhanced confidence, competence and efficiency, thereby reducing turn-around-time.
  • Understand that deferral is a valid option to avoid uncertain interpretation and potential errors.
  • Enhance communication with the operating surgeon, particularly when the histomorphology is uncertain, and there is potential for harmful error.


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Suite 307
Palm Springs, CA 92264

USCAP Interactive Center

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