Pathology FAQ

Frequently asked questions about pathology

Below you will find some questions our receptionists often get regarding pathology and pathology testing. If you would like more information about anything mentioned here, please call our offices and we will try to assist you and answer your questions as best we can.


Pathology is the study of disease and diagnosis. There are many different sub specialities for the various types of samples. We are accredited in two specialities; Histopathology and Cytopathology.

Histopathology or Histology is the sub-speciality of pathology that examines tissue samples. A common form of histology are skin samples looking for abnormalities or cancerous cells in moles, scars, birth marks, etc. Another common sample is tissue from the gastrointestinal tract, taken during a colonoscopy or gastrocopy. Metropath is fully accredited in performing Histopathology, frozen sections and Immunohistochemistry.

Cytopathology or Cytology falls in to two categories; gynaecological or non-gynaecological. Gynaecological cytology specimens are samples pertaining to women’s health such as pap smears, thinpreps, etc. Non-gynaecological cytology are samples such as body fluids, urine and sputums. A common form of non-gynacological cytology testing is a fine needle aspirate, or FNA, often used in testing for breast cancer and thyroid cancer. Metropath is accredited in performing Non-Gynaecological cytology, including fine needle aspiration of biopsy specimens.

Microbiology is the study of bacteria, fungi and viruses. Metropath is not accredited to perform testing on microbiological samples, and we refer any of these samples onto our accredited partner laboratories.

Haematology is the study of blood. Metropath is not accredited to performed testing on haematological samples, and we refer any of these samples onto our accredited partner laboratories. As such, we do not offer blood tests onsite, and you must go through your GP to have your sample collected.

A pathologist is a doctor who has specialised in understanding and diagnosing disease. They have undertaken speciality medical training in the field of diagnosis and disease. There are two broad forms of pathologists; Anatomical Pathologists and Clinical Pathologists.

An Anatomical Pathologist is a pathologist who studies and examines tissue usually the result of a surgical technique. They are related to the fields of histology and cytology.

A Clinical Pathologists is a pathologists who studies and examines bodily fluids, such as blood and urine, They are related to the fields of haematology, chemical biology, and microbiology

Further to these two general fields a pathologist can undergo further training in an area of special interest. A General Pathologist is a pathologist who has undertaken further studied in all forms of pathology. A Dermatolopathologist is a pathologist with a special training and interest in skin related pathology.

Metropath has received your sample because the doctor who saw you has decided to use Metropath as their pathology provider due to our fast results and quality service. You would have signed a pathology request form assigning your right to benefits over to Metropath to render the requested pathology service(s) and any eligible pathologist determinable service(s) established as necessary by the practitioner.

You should be informed that your treating practitioner has recommended that you use Metropath. You are free to choose your own pathology provider. However, if your treating practitioner has specified a particular pathologist on clinical grounds, a Medicare rebate will only be payable if that pathologist performs the service(s). You should discuss this with your treating practitioner.

Metropath does not collect samples onsite. As the majority of our samples are a result of a surgical technique, we recommend you visit you GP or Specialist in order to have your sample taken. One of our couriers will then collect it from the clinic.

We recommend you book an appointment with your GP or your specialist to have your result thoroughly explained to you. Both your GP and specialist, if applicable, receives a copy of the report. If you would like it sent to another doctor, please ask the clinic to ring us so we can have it it sent over.