Pathology for Surgeons (2 week basic science selective)

The surgeon-pathologist relationship is an integral aspect of the surgical care process. The intraoperative and postoperative findings of the pathologist confirm that the appropriate course of action was taken, and this information determines what the surgeon will tell the patient and his or her family about the disease entity, prognosis, and recommended next steps. In this basic science selective, future surgeons will have the opportunity to refresh their understanding of essential anatomy and histology, and deepen their knowledge of disease pathophysiology. They will also engage in multiple practical learning activities such as cutting and interpreting a frozen section, working up a transfusion reaction, staining and interpreting an FNA cytology slide, assisting in prosecting (grossing) surgical pathology and autopsy specimens and following up on the diagnosis/molecular testing/tumor board discussion to enhance their understanding of the pathologist’s critical role in managing surgical patients.

The Pathology for Surgeons basic science selective represents a collaboration between five pathology services, i.e. autopsy, cytology, molecular diagnostics, surgical pathology, and transfusion medicine. On the first two days of each week, students will focus exclusively on surgical pathology while the remaining three days they will rotate between the other four services. The course is intended to encourage future surgeons to integrate basic scientific knowledge and best diagnostic principles into their clinical practice via an overall approach of a) reviewing basic science concepts of anatomy and disease pathophysiology b) comparing and contrasting various diagnostic modalities and basic underlying principles c) applying these concepts via a series of hands-on activities. It is anticipated that students will incorporate these concepts, knowledge, experiences, and evidence in their future surgical practice.

Course Objectives:

  1. Reinforce knowledge of critical human anatomy and improve anatomic dissection skills
  2. Compare and contrast the indications, interpretative considerations, and relative merits of cytologic versus tissue diagnosis via core or open biopsy
  3. Develop familiarity with basic concepts of molecular testing and how it impacts disease diagnosis, prognosis and choice of targeted therapy
  4. Explain the pathophysiology of transfusion reactions and review other potential pitfalls of intraoperative blood product utilization
  5. Deepen understanding of disease features and the integral role pathologists play in management of surgical patients