The perinatal pathology group provides diagnostic services to patients of the MGH.

Clinical Services

Clinical Services Overview

Surgical Pathology Overview

Surgical Pathology Subspecialties


  Advanced Diagnostic Modalities

Obstetric and Perinatal Pathology

The perinatal pathology group provides diagnostic services to patients of the MGH. There is a large volume of in-patient material of high quality due to the busy obstetric, maternal-fetal medicine reproductive endocrine, neonatology and general obstetric services of the MGH. This is reinforced by outstanding case material seen from other institutions and has provided a rich reservoir of material for numerous academic contributions over the years.

The perinatal pathology division contains three faculty: Dr. Drucilla J. Roberts, Subspecialty Head, Dr. Esther Oliva, and Dr. Rosemary Tambouret. The material supervised by these attending pathologists includes the subset of pathology of females represented by specimens of placentas, products of conception, gravid hysterectomies, ectopic pregnancies, fetal, neonatal, and maternal  autopsies. Additionally the service is responsible for several conferences: weekly obstetric QA conference, obstetrical outs and perinatal conference.

The first-year residents are oriented to the service by Dr. Roberts during the summer months by daily one-on-one teaching at the gross bench. In addition to routine grossing of specimens the residents learn how to triage placental specimens to pathologic examination vs. storage, float chorionic villi for identification, interpret fetal radiographs and chromosomal analyses, and obtain tissues for special studies (e.g., viral cultures, metabolic evaluation). Second year and more senior residents have rotations in the obstetric service as electives.


Clinical Program

The in-house material provides a broad range of outstanding case material for resident teaching. As noted above, this is reinforced by material from referral cases, the latter providing much of the resources for the research activities outlined below. The attending pathologists provide consultative services as needed in the frozen section laboratory and present at weekly multidiciplinary perinatal and a genetics/OB ultrasound. Several members also provided cytopathology services.

Academic and Research Accomplishments

Many contributions in peer review journals of both conventional clinico-pathologic nature and translational and basic research appear on a yearly basis. These include collaborations with pathologists from other institutions and MGH clinicians and basic researchers. The group holds an annual postgraduate course on gynecologic and obstetric pathology and under the direction of Dr. Roberts there is additionally a hands on tutorial in obstetric pathology.