By looking at smalls strands of DNA and large skin cells, researchers and lab technicians can begin to diagnose a patient without even looking at them. The smallest 'clues' they can find, the more likely it is that the patient will receive an accurate diagnosis. While lab microscopes are a wise investment for any law enforcement forensics department, they're also crucial in hospitals to determine test results. Though much of specimen processing has gone to an automatic system, processing specimen with a lab microscope is still the ideal way to handle a patient's care.
How High Should the Magnification Be?
Of course, when you're looking for a lab microscope, the biggest concern is just how close you can get to the object you wish to view. If you were just an everyday user, you wouldn't need to get any closer than the cellular level. Even though this can be many hundreds of times magnified, you need more than that in the medical setting. If you can, see if the lab microscopes you research actually show the visible results at various levels of magnification. This will help you determine whether you need more or less power. In addition, you want to have a microscope that offers multiple levels of magnification, usually three. This will help you see different levels of the specimens you collect.
What Can You Use the Lab Microscope For?
There are many ways you can use the lab microscope:
- To look for cancerous cells during biopsies – A slice of the tissue that is collected from the patient can be examined for cancerous growths and patterns before the patient is taken off of anesthesia. If the cells are cancerous, the surgeon can then remove the entire tumor.
- To complete a urinalysis – When you're looking for certain proteins or bacteria, a lab microscope can help you see the offending particles and prescribe the proper treatment.
- To serve as a backup system – While many routine tests have become automated, if your specimen processing system breaks down, you need backup like lab microscopes to help you continue to process tests in the laboratory or pathology departments.
- To complete genetic testing – If you work at a genetic testing lab, you can process blood, hair, and skin cell samples to determine the relativity of samples or to find genes that are precursors for disease – BRCA, for example.
What You Need in Your Hospital's Lab Microscope
There are certain features that are essential in medical grade lab microscope:
- High magnification – If you can't see the smallest bacteria, you won't be able to give an accurate diagnosis. Always choose a microscope that's far too strong over one that's potentially far too weak.
- Multiple lenses – You need to look at specimens from different angles in order to write an accurate report in some cases. Having multiple lenses for your lab microscope will help.
- Illumination – Being able to see the defined edges of the specimen will help you make the correct diagnosis the first time, saving you and the patient stress and worry.