4993 - Clinical: Electron Microscopy

Test Catalog

Test Name

Test ID: 4993    
Electron Microscopy

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Identifying tumor


Diagnosing medical disorders such as storage diseases, cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL), and primary ciliary dyskinesia

Testing Algorithm Delineates situation(s) when tests are added to the initial order. This includes reflex and additional tests.

For nontumorous renal specimens, see 70064 / Renal Pathology Consultation, Wet Tissue for Electron Microscopy.


For platelet disorders, see PTEM / Platelet Transmission Electron Microscopic Study.


For muscle specimens, see MPCT / Muscle Pathology Consultation.


For CADASIL genetic mutation testing on blood, contact Mayo Medical Laboratories.

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

Crucial diagnostic information for the study of human disease may be provided by transmission and scanning electron microscopy. Often information of a confirmatory nature or of educational value to the clinician and pathologist can be obtained by this procedure.


In recent years, the technology involved in electron microscopy has progressed to the point where methods have become standardized and the instrumentation routine. The electron microscope is a fundamental tool in medical diagnostic and cellular pathobiological investigations, because it is at this instrument's level of resolution that most structural correlations with function and metabolism are visible.

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

An interpretive report will be provided.

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

The images and case histories are correlated and interpreted by a pathologist who is an expert in the field of the suspected diagnoses.


Results will be provided by telephone. If requested, representative images showing diagnostic features will be sent.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

Certain factors are necessary for interpretation of electron microscopic images as follows:

-Optimal fixation of viable and representative tissue is imperative.

-Tumor biopsies must be accompanied by a history, hematoxylin and eosin-stained slides, and a paraffin block.

-The tissue submitted must have been viable at the time of fixation.

-Selection of tissue representative of the lesion is essential.

Clinical Reference Provides recommendations for further in-depth reading of a clinical nature

Damjanov I: Ultrastructural Pathology of Human Tumors. St. Albens, VT, Eden Press, Vol 1, 1979; Vol 2, 1980

Special Instructions and Forms Describes specimen collection and preparation information, test algorithms, and other information pertinent to test. Also includes pertinent information and consent forms to be used when requesting a particular test