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Thin Prep Imaging System

Basic Operation of the ThinPrep® Imaging System


The ThinPrep Imaging System is an automated imaging and review system for use with ThinPrep Pap Test slides. It combines imaging technology to identify microscopic fields of diagnostic interest with automated stage movement of a microscope in order to locate these fields. In routine use, the ThinPrep® Imaging System selects 22 fields of view for a Cytotechnologist to review. Following review of these fields, the Cytotechnologist will either complete the diagnosis if no abnormalities are identified or review the entire slide if any abnormalities are identified. The ThinPrep® Imaging System also allows the physical marking of locations of interest for the Cytopathologist.


The ThinPrep® Imaging System consists of an Image Processor and one, or more, Review Scopes. The system makes use of computer imaging to select fields of view for presentation to a Cytotechnologist on a Review Scope. Slides used with this system must first be prepared on a ThinPrep® 2000 or 3000 Processor, and stained with ThinPrep® stain.

The Imaging Processor acquires and processes image data from the slides to identify diagnostically relevant cells or cell groups based on an imaging algorithm that considers cellular features and nuclear darkness. During slide imaging, the alphanumeric slide accession identifier is recorded and the x and y coordinates of 22 fields of interest are stored in the computer database. This computer also coordinates the communication of information between the Image Processor and the Review Scopes.

After image processing, slides are distributed to Cytotechnologists for review utilizing the Review Scopes. The Review Scope is a microscope with an automated stage to facilitate the locating of the 22 fields containing the cells of interest. Additionally, the Review Scope provides a method for automated marking of objects for further review. Slides are individually loaded onto the Review Scope stage, the alphanumeric slide accession identifier is automatically scanned and the stored x and y coordinates representing fields of interest for that slide are electronically downloaded from the computer to the Review Scope. The Cytotechnologist then uses a keypad to step through each of the fields of interest (Autolocate).

If the Cytotechnologist identifies any of these fields as containing abnormal objects, that field may be marked electronically. The Review Scope will guide the Cytotechnologist to conduct a review of the entire cell spot for any slide that has had fields electronically marked (Autoscan). The Cytotechnologist determines specimen adequacy and the presence of infections during the review of the 22 fields of view presented by the ThinPrep® Imaging System.


Either of two methods can be used to determine specimen adequacy. The first method is to count cells and determine the average number of cells in the 22 fields of view presented by the Imager. The second method is to count and determine the average number of cells in 10 fields of view across the diameter of the cell spot. Either method will enable the Cytotechnologist to determine if the minimum cells, as recommended by Bethesda System 2001 criteria, are present on the slide.

At the conclusion of the slide review electronically marked objects are automatically ink marked. Any x and y coordinates representing marked locations along with a slide completion status are then electronically transmitted back to the computer for storage.