Frozen Tissue Section

CPT: To be assigned by pathologist.
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Test Details


  • FS
  • Intraoperative Consultation
  • Surgical Pathology Consultation

Test Includes

Gross examination; frozen section interpretation, followed by routine histopathology report


Establish rapid histopathologic diagnosis of a pathologic process; occasionally, to ascertain if cultures are indicated and, if so, to provide indication of the type of cultures needed; procurement of tissue for fat stains; procurement of tissue for direct immunofluorescent examination (eg, κ and λ light chains, bacterial antigens) and for immunoperoxidase procedures, and for rapid diagnosis for direction of fresh tissues for subsequent special studies such as receptor assays and/or electron microscopy. Determination of the spread of disease can be accomplished with frozen sections in selected settings; for instance, whether or not the tumor has metastasized beyond a proposed resection field. An example may be given of pelvic lymph node examination prior to radical prostatectomy, one of the applications of frozen sections in which false-negatives from sampling errors occur. A need exists to ascertain adequacy of the sample for subsequent work-up. Surgeons not infrequently request frozen sections for work-up of unanticipated findings (eg, a nodule in the liver).

Specimen Requirements


Fresh tissue


Sterile towel, sterile Petri dish, or sterile jar (no added fixative or fluid)


Container be labeled with patient's full name, date, operating room, and surgeon requesting the frozen section.

Causes for Rejection

Specimen submitted in fixative, water, or saline; improper labeling; incomplete or improperly filled out request form

Clinical Information

Special Instructions

Notify pathology 48 hours in advance. Request state operative diagnosis and source of specimen.

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