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Frequently Asked Questions


What is a pathologist?

A pathologist is a physician who has completed residency training in anatomic and/or clinical pathology. Pathology is the identification of diseases and disorders using a microscope and other instrumentation to perform tests on tissue and blood samples. At NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, many of our pathologists have completed additional training in various subspecialties. All of our pathologists are board-certified.

What does a pathologist do?

A pathologist uses a microscope and often other tests to examine tissue biopsies and blood samples. The pathologist then combines clinical information (observations your doctor has made about your signs and symptoms) with microscopic observations of your biopsy and tests performed on your blood sample to make a diagnosis.

Is pathology a lab test?

Pathology is a consultative service provided to you and your doctor — it is not simply a laboratory test. The tests a pathologist uses are his or her tools, but ultimately the decision regarding a particular diagnosis is based on the pathologist's expertise and training in the interpretation of your biopsy or blood sample

What is a biopsy?

A biopsy is a sample of tissue. For certain suspected diseases and conditions, doctors will remove a small sample of tissue for analysis by a pathologist. This tissue is typically treated using special stains and/or other chemicals so it can be examined under a microscope and/or using molecular and other tests to learn more about the biology of the tissue. Biopsies are the single most important way to diagnose certain diseases, such as cancer

What pathology services does Weill Cornell offer?

Weill Cornell pathologists offer a wide range of standard as well as hard-to-find techniques for analyzing tissue specimens and blood samples. In addition to light and electron microscopy, our pathologists use molecular and genetic profiling techniques to glean insights into the biology of a tissue sample. This information can help doctors choose the most effective treatment. Our services are provided by a team of board-certified pathologists with subspecialty training in the pathological diagnosis of cancerous and noncancerous diseases.

How quickly will I receive the pathology results, and how will they arrive?

Depending on the type of tissue sample submitted and the tests we need to perform, we generally produce a final pathology report within 24 to 48 hours of receiving your specimen. Some molecular tests take longer to perform. Results are sent via fax or electronically and often are also discussed by telephone with your physician.

Can I use Weill Cornell's services to request a second opinion?

Yes. We encourage you to consult our pathologists for a second opinion, which is useful for making a final accurate diagnosis. To request a second opinion, visit Consultation Services.

How can I send you my slides?

When you contact us, we will provide you with information about sending us your slides via messenger (if local) or by express mail service.

If I send you my slides for a second opinion, will I get them back?

Yes. We return all slides to the institution or person who sent them.

What happens after I get my test results?

Your doctor will use the information from our analysis, along with the results of other tests you may have had, to choose the most appropriate treatment for you.

Why should I choose the Weill Cornell Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine over other pathology providers?

We provide expert consultation to evaluate tissue samples for all cancerous and noncancerous disorders of the body, with the diagnosis rendered by board-certified pathologists who have subspecialty training in the analysis of diseases in specific parts of the body and who work in a world-class academic medical center. Our pathologists are nationally and internationally renowned and are highly regarded in their fields. We see a high volume of many different types of cases, which expands our knowledge and experience and which translates to better care for you.

Weill Cornell Medicine Pathology & Laboratory Medicine 1300 York Avenue New York, NY 10065 Phone: (212) 746-6464 Fax: (212) 746-8192