Utility of 2-D and 3-D virtual microscopy in cervical cytology education and testing

Fred R. Dee, Amber Donnelly, Stanley Radio, Timothy Leaven, M. Sue Zaleski, Clarence Kreiter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of 3-D vs. 2-D virtual microscopy as adjuncts to education and assessment in cervical cytology. Study Design: Five cervical cytology slides were acquired in 2-D; then the identical area of the slide was acquired in 3-D, resulting in 2 sets of virtual slides for comparison with the original glass slide. Seventy-nine paid volunteer cytologists and cytotechnology students participated. Approximately half were sent the 2-D set of slides via the Web, and the others a 3-D set of slides on a DVD. Evaluators examined the virtual slides and committed to an interpretation. After receipt of the original glass slides, a second interpretation was made, if different from the virtual slide interpretation. Results: Diagnostic accuracy using virtual cytology slides was similar to that for glass slides (94% vs. 96%). There was no difference in diagnostic accuracy between 2-D and 3-D slides (p = 0.28); however, the ability to focus 3-D slides in the z-axis was strongly endorsed by the participants because of the uncertainty and frustration of having some cells out of focus on 2-D virtual slides. Conclusion: There was consensus that virtual cervical cytology slides would be a useful augmentation to education and testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)523-529
Number of pages7
JournalActa Cytologica
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2007


  • Cytology
  • Lesion, squamous intraepithelial
  • Virtual microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology


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