Scanning Microscopy


Our personal experience on the application of scanning electron microscopy in cardiology, gastroenterology and ophthalmology is reviewed.

SEM has not yet significantly contributed to myocardium pathology. However, in the near future, SEM could be a reliable technique to complete the information available from other sources. As to atherosclerosis, SEM allowed us to improve our knowledge of the early stages of the disease; some pathological features, not always detected by conventional morphological examinations, can be documented. An important contribution to gastrointestinal pathology was made by SEM investigations both in the staging of some important diseases (i.e., coeliac disease, peptic ulcer, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis) and in the follow-up of mucosal changes during therapy. In the ophthalmological field,SEM provided three-dimensional new information to clinicians, who are familiar with the biomicroscopic images. Our experience in hematology is still limited. However, in the lost few years SEM joined to immunocytochemistry allowed us to characterize cell populations in several blood diseases. Some procedures of particular interest in the management of human bioptic specimens are stressed in order to get to a complete correlative microscopy.

We conclude that continuous and simultaneous correlations have to be carried out between SEM and other methods and instruments available for morphological investigation.

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