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 Histology Steps



Histology PhotoThe Histology Department at the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office prepares stained slides of tissue samples taken from the decedents during autopsy. Approximately 20,000 to 25,000 slides are prepared annually.  

Histology is the study of tissues. Tissues are a group of cells that perform a specific function. Cells are the smallest unit of life and are the building blocks of all living things. Normal cells have definite character and reproduce themselves in an orderly way. The structural and functional changes in cells, tissues, and organs can lead to disease or disease can cause mutation of cells or abnormal cell growth (tumors).  

The duty of Histotechnologists is to prepare and stain the tissue sections that are collected by the Pathologist during autopsy for microscopic examination. This field of study is a diagnostic tool for Pathologists to help determine the cause of death. Sometimes the cause of death is determined only by a microscopic review of the autopsy tissues. Therefore, Histology plays a crucial role to help diagnose the diseased tissue. Other industries that utilize Histology are health care and research laboratories.  

Pathology is the study of disease. In the application of Forensic Science, the Forensic Pathologist’s responsibility is to determine the cause of death in decedents that die suddenly and unexpectedly by natural or violent means. Most of the time, the cause of death is determined by inspection and examination of external body and internal organs. The Forensic Pathologist must determine whether diseases and injuries are the cause of death or if they were caused after death (post-mortem). The visual examination of the body is correlated with the microscopic structure of the tissues.