Optimal patient care requires close cooperation between clinician and pathologist. Of course this statement applies to patient treatment in its widest sense. However, it applies especially to surgical pathology of the head and neck area where surgical specimens are anatomically complicated, containing many different structures and tissue types confined within a limited volume. Most often the surgeon does not require the diagnosis, which is usually known beforehand, but is more interested in knowing which structures are invaded by tumour, whether the margins are free, and whether preoperative diagnostic imaging has given a true picture of tumour size and extension. Examination of surgically resected head and neck specimens is thus a demanding task that requires knowledge of anatomy, types of surgical resections and macroscopic clinicopathological data that are important for assessment of the need for additional treatment postoperatively.
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