The key difference between histopathology and cytology is that histopathology is the study of diseased tissues using a microscope while cytology is the study of individual cells of the body.
Cells are the basic structural units of life. During the diagnosis of diseases in medicine, cells and whole tissues are examined by pathologists. The study of tissues in relation to disease is known as histopathology. In contrast, the study of a single cell type is known as cytology. Therefore, histopathology looks at tissues while cytology looks at individual cells.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Histopathology
3. What is Cytology
4. Similarities Between Histopathology and Cytology
5. Side by Side Comparison – Histopathology vs Cytology in Tabular Form
What is Histopathology?
Histology is the study of human tissues, while pathology is the study of diseases. Therefore, histopathology refers to the microscopic examination of tissues in order to study the manifestations of diseases. In simple words, histopathology is the study of tissues related to diseases. In histopathology, a pathologist (specialized doctor) examines changes in any tissue associated with a disease using a microscope and studies signs and characteristics of the disease.
In order to examine under the microscope, it is necessary to remove tissues from the body or plant and prepare slides. When preparing slides, the tissue samples are cut into thin sections, stained with suitable dyes and examined under a microscope. Lymph nodes are the tissues observed in lymphomas while bone marrows are the tissues observed in blood cancers. Generally, histopathological slides provide a more comprehensive view of the disease and the effects on the tissues since the preparation process preserves the underlying tissue architecture. A report of histopathology is known as a biopsy report or a pathological report.
What is Cytology?
Cytology is the study of individual cells of the body in terms of structure, function and chemistry. Therefore, normal cells are studied in cytology. However, in cytopathology, cells related to the diseases are examined and analyzed to diagnose medical conditions.
In cytology, individual cells are observed for abnormal changes in the nucleus and cytoplasm. When looking at the nucleus, its size, shape and appearance of the genetic material can be viewed. A cytological examination can be done on body fluids such as blood, urine and cerebrospinal fluid, etc. It can also be done by scraping or brushing the tissue surfaces. Similar to histopathology, the cell samples must be placed on a glass slide, stained and examined under a microscope. Cytology is often used in medicine in order to prevent and diagnose diseases.
What are the Similarities Between Histopathology and Cytology?
- Histopathology and cytology are two branches of biology.
- They are widely used in medicine for the prevention and diagnosis of diseases.
- In both studies, specimens are prepared using glass slides, stained and examined under the microscope by a pathologist or a cytologist.
What is the Difference Between Histopathology and Cytology?
Histopathology is the science of looking at tissues related to diseases. Meanwhile, cytology is the science of looking into individual cells. Thus, this is the key difference between histopathology and cytology.
Moreover, histopathological examinations are more invasive and traumatic, while cytological examinations are less invasive and traumatic.
Below tabulation summarizes the difference between histopathology and cytology.
Summary – Histopathology vs Cytology
Histopathology is the study of the signs of diseases using the microscopic examination of tissues. On the other hand, cytology is the study of cells in terms of structure, function and chemistry. Both histopathology and cytology are widely used in medicine in order to diagnose and prevent diseases. In both studies, it is necessary to make glass slides of specimens, stain them using suitable dyes and examine under a microscope. It is also necessary to observe slides by a specialized trained person often by a doctor. Thus, this is the summary of the difference between histopathology and cytology.