Pathology is the precise study and diagnosis of disease. The word pathology is from Ancient Greek πάθος, pathos, "feeling, suffering"; and -λογία, -logia, "the study of". Pathologization, to pathologize, refers to the process of defining a condition or behavior as pathological, e.g. pathological gambling. Pathologies is synonymous with diseases. The suffix "path" is used to indicate a disease, e.g. psychopath.
: Pathology addresses 4 components of disease:
cause/etiology, mechanisms of development (pathogenesis), structural alterations of cells (morphologic changes), and the consequences of changes (clinical manifestations).
Pathology is further separated into divisions, based on either the system being studied (e.g. veterinary pathology and animal disease) or the focus of the examination (e.g. forensic pathology and determining the cause of death).
General pathology is a broad and complex scientific field which seeks to understand the mechanisms of injury to cells and tissues, as well as the body's means of responding to and repairing injury.
Areas of study include cellular adaptation to injury, necrosis, inflammation, wound healing, and neoplasia.
It forms the foundation of pathology, the application of this knowledge to diagnose diseases in humans and animals.
Anatomical pathology (Commonwealth) or anatomic pathology (United States) is a medical specialty that is concerned with the diagnosis of disease based on the gross, microscopic, chemical, immunologic and molecular examination of organs, tissues, and whole bodies (autopsy).
An autopsy—also known as a postmortem examination, necropsy (particularly as to non-human bodies), autopsia cadaverum, or obduction—is a highly specialized surgical procedure that consists of a thorough examination of a corpse to determine the cause and manner of death and to evaluate any disease or injury that may be present. It is usually performed by a specialized medical doctor called a pathologist.
Anatomical pathology is one of two branches of pathology, the other being clinical pathology, the diagnosis of disease through the laboratory analysis of bodily fluids and tissues.
Anatomical pathology is itself divided in subspecialties, the main ones being surgical pathology, cytopathology, and forensic pathology. To be licensed to practice pathology, one has to complete medical school and secure a license to practice medicine. An approved residency program and certification (in the United States, the American Board of Pathology or the American Osteopathic Board of Pathology) is usually required to obtain employment or hospital privileges.
Anatomical pathology is one of two branches of pathology, the other being clinical pathology, the diagnosis of disease through the laboratory analysis of bodily fluids and tissues. Often, pathologists practice both anatomical and clinical pathology, a combination known as general pathology. The distinction between anatomic and clinical pathology is increasingly blurred by the introduction of technologies that require new expertise and the need to provide patients and referring physicians with integrated diagnostic reports. Similar specialties exist in veterinary pathology.
The term general pathology is also used to describe the practice of both anatomical and clinical pathology.