Frozen Tissue Section

Norm of Frozen Tissue Section

Interpreted by pathologist.


Usage of Frozen Tissue Section

Rapid diagnosis on biopsied tissue while surgery is in progress.


Description of Frozen Tissue Section

The rapid freezing and slicing of tissue for pathologic examination and interpretation. Using frozen tissue section samples as a basis for diagnosis, though NOT 100% accurate, has consistently proved to be a highly accurate method for rapid diagnosis. This method may also be used for fluorescent microscopy and for identification of fats and enzymes undetectable by other methods.


Professional Considerations of Frozen Tissue Section

Consent form IS required for the procedure used to obtain the specimen. See Biopsy, site-specific—Specimen for procedure-specific risks and contraindications .

  1. Preoperative teaching involving the type of procedure required for the sampling to proceed.
  2. See Client and Family Teaching.



  1. Place the moistened, fixed or unfixed tissue on a freezing microtome table.
  2. Allow carbon dioxide to enter the table through the side perforations.
  3. Freeze the tissue and slice it into thin sections by means of the cryostat.
  4. Attach the frozen section to a glass slide.
  5. Stain the nucleus of the cells with a hematoxylin dye.
  6. Stain the cytoplasm of the cells with eosin dye.
  7. Examine the slide microscopically and interpret.


Postprocedure Care

  1. See individual procedure listings.


Client and Family Teaching

  1. Preparation for the procedure is necessary.
  2. Fast from food and fluids for 12 hours before the procedure.
  3. Call the physician for signs of infection at the procedure site: increasing pain, redness, swelling, purulent drainage, or for temperature >101 degrees F (>38.2 degrees C).
  4. Supply information on possible support groups available for the diagnosis.


Factors That Affect Results

  1. Poor tissue sample.


Other Data

  1. Microscopic examination is often able to confirm a diagnosis of a specific lesion.
  2. Frozen sections have been reported as false-positive and false-negative results. A fresh section is best for accuracy.