Surgical Pathologist

Examine patient samples and surgical biopsies to help study disease.

What does a Surgical Pathologist do?

Surgical Pathologists study the origin and progression of diseases by gathering that information from organs, tissues, and bodily fluids that come about as a result of surgery.

As a Surgical Pathologist, you don’t participate in the actual surgery. In fact, most of your time is spent in the laboratory. You can make some diagnoses with your naked, albeit well-trained, eye. But you’re a Scientist as well as a Surgical Pathologist, so you don’t rely on your visual skills alone.

Instead, you back up your hypothesis with hard scientific evidence in the form of microscopic examinations and chemical concoctions. In other words, you use both fancy and basic equipment to decide whether the sample is infected.

Your tests also help identify the exact cause of the problem. Testing surrounding tissues provides information about how far the disease has spread. You might find cancer cells, or be able to definitively state that the sample is cancer-free.

Speaking of samples, you might analyze anything from a mole that a Dermatologist has cut off, to a diseased gall bladder that a Surgeon has removed. Other samples include biopsies from tumors and cysts, cells, organs, bodily fluids, and tissues.

In addition to helping Doctors diagnose disease, you might work as a Forensic Surgical Pathologist, examining deceased people to establish the cause of death. You might also use your knowledge to teach, give presentations at industry conferences, or provide witness testimony in court cases.