During the last decade pathology has benefited from the rapid progress of image digitizing technology. The improvement in this technology had led to the creation of slide scanners which are able to produce whole slide images (WSI) which can be explored by image viewers in a way comparable to the conventional microscope. The file size of the WSI ranges from a few megabytes to several gigabytes, leading to challenges in the area of image storage and management when they will be used routinely in daily clinical practice. Digital slides are used in pathology for education, diagnostic purposes (clinicopathological meetings, consultations, revisions, slide panels and, increasingly, for upfront clinical diagnostics) and archiving. As an alternative to conventional slides, WSI are generally well accepted, especially in education, where they are available to a large number of students with the full possibilities of annotations without the problem of variation between serial sections. Image processing techniques can also be applied to WSI, providing pathologists with tools assisting in the diagnosis-making process. This paper will highlight the current status of digital pathology applications and its impact on the field of pathology.
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Limited.