Electron Microscopy examination process

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Samples are examined ultrastructurally by a competent, experienced Senior, Advanced or Lead Electron Microscopy Biomedical Scientist using one of two computerised transmission electron microscopes.

As standard, the ultrastructural examination process takes place as described in this section.

However, if Service Users have specific preferences or requirements with respect to the approach, these can be discussed as necessary.

Digital electron micrographs (images)

Both electron microscopes are fitted with very high resolution side-mount digital cameras controlled by digital imaging software on a networked PC. These are used by the Biomedical Scientists to capture as many images as necessary in order to provide an accurate representation of the sample and to illustrate the ultrastructural pathology identified.

There is no set number or limit to the images captured during the examination: the number varies according to the needs of each case as determined by the judgement and expertise of the Biomedical Scientist.

Images are routinely captured in 8-bit greyscale tiff format with a resolution of 5 or 8 Megapixels dependent on microscope used.

Each image is annotated in order to label it with anonymous patient identifiers provided by the sender and a unique image number. Identifiable patient details are not used to protect patient confidentiality.

The image capture software has calibrated functionality to enable length measurements to be taken of any structure and displayed on the image.

Electron microscopy ultrastructural commentary

To complement the images provided, a text commentary is provided as a Microsoft Notepad file. This provides a basic, concise summary of the ultrastructural findings.

These ultrastructural comments do not constitute a histology report and are to be interpreted by the Histopathologist in the context of the clinical, light microscopic and immunohistochemical findings.

(Last reviewed 19th June 2018)