Surgical Pathology

Surgical Pathology provides diagnostic services to the patients and physicians of Illinois. Our faculty and staff provide both general tissue diagnosis as well as special testing for tumor and prognostic markers. We perform our services in close collaboration with multiple other departmental units.

Surgical Pathology examines tissue for diagnosis. All tissue specimens are accessioned assigned a unique identifier. Faculty, pathology residents and pathologists’ assistants examine tissue including dissection of complex specimens and determine which sections to submit for microscopic examination. Tissue for banking and special studies is also selected at this time. Small specimens procured for diagnosis (biopsies) are given priority with expedited processing. Complex specimens may require overnight fixation to stabilize tissue for further dissection and procurement of tissue for microscopic sections. Specimens needing decalcification may require additional time. Findings of complex specimens are documented by digital imaging.

Examination of most tissue specimens includes microscopic examination and this includes processing, embedding, sectioning and staining (microscopic) slides. This process typically takes from 18 to 24 hours to complete as tissue must be carefully dehydrated and then completely infused with paraffin to stabilize the tissue for sectioning and staining.

Once microscopic slides are prepared, surgical pathologists, fellows and pathology residents review the slides and construct diagnostic reports. This slide review to posting of a final diagnosis in the UI Hospital HIS may take another 24 hours to complete and completion of reports for complex specimens requiring specialized studies typically requires additional time with most complex cases reported within five working days. All cases are reviewed and signed out by surgical pathology faculty. Surgical Pathology does not post preliminary diagnoses. Urgent reports are posted in HIS for cases with unexpected or urgent clinical needs for which a Final report cannot be posted in a timely manner.

Members of patient services may request consultation of cases by coming to the surgical pathology office (UI Hospital 3118B) during office hours. Whenever possible, calling ahead to the office at 312-996-3886 to locate slides and the appropriate resident, fellow or faculty pathologists will expedite consultation. Surgical Pathology slides and tissue blocks are kept on file. These are available for consultation. Patients may have slides sent to other institutions when patients obtain care outside of UI Hospital.

The Faculty has specialists in gastrointestinal, liver, kidney, prostate, urinary bladder, breast, skin, lung, gynecologic, oral/head and neck, neural, pediatric and ophthalmologic pathology.

General Surgical Pathology Services:

Director of Surgical Pathology Services

Vikas Mehta, MD
Phone: 312-996-2921
Fax:     312-996-7586

Hours of Operation and Location:

Hours:        7:30 am to 6:30 pm Monday through Friday
Location:    UI Hospital 3110
Telephone: 312-413-7671

Surgical Pathology specimens are routinely accepted during these hours for processing and diagnosis by specimen receiving located in Room UI Hospital 3110, Room 3110 also provides a secure repository for routine tissue specimens outside of laboratory hours.

Intraoperative Consultation (IOC):
Hours:      7:30 am to 6:30 pm Monday through Friday
Off hours: Please contact pathology resident on call

IOC, with or without frozen section, is provided for the operating and procedure rooms at Illinois Medical Center. Special handling of tissue for tissue banking, clinical research and treatment protocols and lymphoma testing is provided. Kidney adequacy assessment is provided by the IOC service.

Hours:        7:30 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday
Location:    UI Hospital Room 3118
Telephone: 312-996-3886
Office staff: Denise McLaurin
Susan Dressen

The office staff accepts consultation cases for pathology faculty. Patients wishing to obtain materials for second opinions should contact the Surgical Pathology office.

The Surgical Pathology central office houses the transcription service of surgical pathology, billing, and customer service. This office receives all enquiries concerning the service, transcribes reports, performs intake on consultation cases, locates and distributes requested slides and reports and monitors quality assurance indicators.

Urgent Cases:

Cases needing urgent attention or frozen section outside of regular laboratory hours, are accepted 24/7 by contacting the pathologist and resident on call.  See New Innovations for on call schedule.