Histology allows forensic doctors to look at autopsy tissues under the microscope. Histology examination is not required for all deaths and is used when the forensic doctor determines that it is necessary. Histology is useful for identifying infections in tissues and to identify and classify cancers.
If histology sections are needed for an autopsy, the forensic doctor will take a small piece of tissue and put it into a fluid that keeps the tissue from breaking down. The Histotechnologist will take those tissue samples and prepare them so that they can be cut very thinly, placed on a glass slide and stained with dyes to show the microscopic details of the tissue. Once the microscopic tissue slide is prepared, it is given to the forensic doctor to examine under the microscope and to describe their observations and make diagnoses. Special stains can be used as needed to better document certain findings. A limited number of microscopic slides can be made from each piece of tissue taken at autopsy.