Number of levels needed for diagnosis of cervical biopsies

Yehung Vivian Luo, Thomas J. Prihoda, Francis E. Sharkey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Context. - Three levels of histologic sections are routinely prepared for small biopsies in many surgical pathology laboratories. The first level is superficial and may not be representative of the entire biopsy, and may therefore represent wasted resources and time for technologists and pathologists alike. Objective. - To determine if disposing of the first of 3 standard levels materially affects the diagnosis of cervical biopsies. Design. - We retrospectively reviewed levels 2 and 3 of 241 cervical biopsies and compared the review diagnosis with the original diagnosis, using 6 diagnostic categories: I, benign lesions; II, human papillomavirus-associated changes or low-grade dysplasia; III, high-grade dysplasia/carcinoma in situ; IV, invasive carcinoma; V, insufficient tissue for diagnosis; and VI, further workup needed. If there was a discrepancy between the original and review diagnostic categories, then we examined level 1 to determine if this would resolve the disagreement. Setting. - The surgical pathology laboratory. Patients. - Women undergoing cervical biopsy. Interventions. - None. Main Outcome Measures. - The frequency with which level 1 information changed the diagnostic category determined with levels 2 and 3 only. Results. - After review of levels 2 and 3, the diagnosis in 42 (17%) of 241 cases was in disagreement with the original diagnosis. Upon review of level 1, the review category was changed to that of the original diagnosis in only one case. Conclusions. - The first of 3 levels contributed little to reaching a diagnosis in these cervical biopsies. Control of interobserver variation would seem to be superior to preparation of additional levels as a strategy for reducing diagnostic error.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1205-1208
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'Number of levels needed for diagnosis of cervical biopsies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this