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Introduction to histopathology
Introduction to histopathology

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4 Photography and reporting

4.1 Image acquisition

Digital photography has superseded the use of film for obtaining images of histological sections and many microscopes have a digital camera attached. An image obtained from a slide generally only includes a tiny proportion of the section, however microscope systems are now available that can scan entire slides, providing very large images. Such images can be transmitted electronically, so that a pathologist can 'view' a section from a distant location. Such systems are being increasingly used, although they are still very much the exception to the standard practice where the pathologist observes and records their observations at their own hospital.

Images are not usually obtained for routine work. Since the sections are stored for many years it is always possible to return to them later. However, for presentations, images are essential, and there is some skill in selecting suitable areas of the section to illustrate a point. Journals require a minimum of 300dpi for histological images, usually in jpg or tiff formats. If you are preparing images for publication, it is essential to generate images of acceptable quality and format, by checking the requirements on the journal website beforehand.