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Cytologic evaluation

Definition

Cytologic evaluation is the analysis under a microscope of cells collected from a part of the body. This is done to determine what the cells look like, and how they form and function.

The test is usually used to look for cancers and precancerous changes. It may also be used to look for viral infections in cells. The test differs from a biopsy in that only cells are examined, not pieces of tissue.

The Pap smear is a common cytologic evaluation that looks at cells from the cervix. Some other examples include:

Alternative Names

Cell evaluation; Cytology

References

Stricker TP, Kumar V. Neoplasia. In: Kumar V, Abbas AK, Fausto N, Aster JC, eds. Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2009:chap 7.


Review Date: 8/11/2013
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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