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Histology is the cornerstone of accurate and timely diagnosis in the cancer pathway, understanding the pathogenesis of various neoplastic and non-neoplastic diseases.

Histology is the cornerstone of accurate and timely diagnosis in the cancer pathway, understanding the pathogenesis of various neoplastic and non-neoplastic diseases. Unilabs is the largest independent provider of cellular pathology services in the UK. At our UKAS ISO 15189:2012 accredited Central London laboratory we process and report over 120,000 histopathology cases per annum.  Please refer to the below link for full details of our UKAS ISO 15189:2012 accreditation scope.  

Although we have a high throughput we offer a unique and flexible service that centres upon a sub-specialist reporting and unrivalled turnaround times.  Turnaround times are defined and agreed on an individual client basis. Our clients also benefit from direct access to pathologists for advice and case discussion, and can access reports immediately via our web-based reporting system.

Both traditional slide/microscope and digital reporting methods are used for reporting by Unilabs pathologists.  Digital pathology reporting can also be referred to as virtual microscopy, which involves the capturing, managing, analysing and interpreting of digital information from a glass slide. The process involves converting glass slides to digital pathology slides using digital pathology scanning solutions provided by Philips.  A digital slide image is then generated which allows for high resolution viewing, interpretation and image analysis of digital pathology slides.

For full details of Unilabs ISO 15189:2012 accreditation scope.

Whether it is a fully outsourced histopathology service or a short-term contract to address back-logs, Unilabs has over 20 years’ experience in supporting the needs of both private and NHS organisations.

Specialist Testing And Expert Opinions
Immunohistochemistry And Molecular Diagnostics

Unilabs performs the majority of immunohistochemistry (IHC) in house.

Click here for Unilabs IHC test repertoire

Unilabs also works alongside Health Service Laboratories – Advanced Diagnostics (HSL-AD), Sarah Cannon Research, Kings College Hospital and The Institute of Orthopaedics  for all other specialist immunohistochemistry and molecular diagnostic testing, unless otherwise specified.

Please refer to the Additional Testing and Expert Opinions section of the website for further information.

Referral Laboratories

The following referral sites are routinely used for specialist testing and in instances where expert second opinions are required. Audits are carried out by Unilabs to ensure all referral laboratories used are accredited accordingly.

The below lists the referral site along with its speciality

Charing Cross HospitalImmunofluorescence
Moorfields/UCL Institute of OphthalmologyOccular Pathology
Queen Elizabeth University HospitalSpecialist Cytology Services
Royal London Hospital  Renal Pathology / Electron Microscopy
Royal Marsden Hospital Flow Cytometry
Royal National Orthopaedic HospitalBone/Soft Tissue Specialists
Sarah Cannon Research    Molecular Tests
Scottish HPV Reference Laboratory HPV Genotyping
St Johns Institute of Dermatology   Dermatopathology Specialists
TDL-HSL Molecular LaboratoryHPV Subtyping 


The below lists the Referral Consultant along with their location and expert speciality field

Dr CalonjeSt Johns Institute of DermatologyDermatopathologist
Dr PollerQueen Alexandra Hospital      Endocrine Pathologist
Professor Flanagan  Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital     Bone/Soft Tissue Pathologist

Frozen Section

Unilabs offers a frozen section service to several hospitals and clinics across London and the South East. Frozen section biopsies are a common perioperative technique in which excised fresh tissue can be rapidly analysed by a consultant pathologist and communicated to the surgeon in theatre. The main purpose of the pathologist is to inform the surgeon whether the surgical margin is clear of malignancy. 

Booking our pathologists for frozen sections couldn’t be easier – just call our team on 020 7299 4490 for further information. We generally request a minimum of 24-hours notice for frozen sections, however, where possible we try our best to deploy a pathologist and a biomedical scientist for urgent/unplanned requests.

Mohs Micrographic Surgery

In addition to traditional frozen sections Unilabs provides medical and technical expertise for Mohs Micrographic Surgery. Mohs surgery is one of the many methods of obtaining complete margin control during removal of a skin cancer (CCPDMA– complete circumferential peripheral and deep margin assessment using frozen section histology). 

The Mohs procedure is micrographically controlled so it allows precise removal of the cancerous tissue while healthy tissue is spared. In anatomically important areas (eyelid, nose, lips), tissue sparing and low recurrence rate makes it a procedure of choice by many physicians.

The method involves excising tissue from the tumour base. The frozen section is then examined by the surgeon and/or the pathologist to determine whether or not the resection has been complete. Any residual tumour is mapped and re-excised. 

The process is continued until all margins are free from the tumour. In addition to the high cure rates associated with this specialist surgery, the frozen section technique maximises the likelihood of clearance while minimising the extent of surrounding normal skin that is removed. This means that the patient will be left with a smaller scar than if they had undergone conventional surgical options.

For several clinics we provide a comprehensive Mohs service whereby a consultant dermamtopathologist and a biomedical scientist are in attendance. Increasing more dermatologists are becoming trained to perform their histopathology analysis. For these clinics we provide experienced Mohs-trained biomedical scientists and laboratory support.

Tissue Retention

Gross specimens from reported cases will be discarded five weeks after reporting as per current Royal College of Pathologists guidelines.

Products of Conception

All foetal remains irrespective of origin will be managed in a respectful and dignified manner and in accordance with the Human Tissue Authority guidance. No foetal tissue will be disposed of as clinical waste. Any sample which definitely or possibly contains products of conception therefore requires consent for histological examination and notification of the mother’s wishes as to the preferred route of disposal.

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