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Cytologic evaluation

Cell evaluation; Cytology

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Definition

Cytologic evaluation is the analysis of cells from the body under a microscope. This is done to determine what the cells look like, and how they form and function.

The test is usually used to look for cancers and precancerous changes. It may also be used to look for viral infections in cells. The test differs from a biopsy because only cells are examined, not pieces of tissue.

The Pap smear is a common cytologic evaluation that looks at cells from the cervix. Some other examples include:

Review Date: 8/5/2017
Reviewed By: Frank A. Greco, MD, PhD, Director, Biophysical Laboratory, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Hospital, Bedford, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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