11 Difference between Cytology and Histology (With Table)

Biology is a branch of science that deals with the study of living and non-living things. The main subdivisions of biology are botany and zoology. 

Botany is a branch of biology that deals with the study of plants and zoology deal with the study of animals. Biology is further classified into study areas such as cytology and histology. 

So, what is the main difference between cytology and histology? The former is the study of chemistry, structure, and function of living organisms cells while the latter is the study of chemical composition, microscopic structure, and functions of tissues or tissue systems. 

A cell is the smallest structural and functional unit of life. A tissue is a group of cells with different origins but performs the same functions. Cytology and histology help us to have a clear understanding of animals and plants. 

This article provides further differences between cytology and histology in a tabular form. Take the time to read through and get to know the relationship between cytology and histology. 

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Comparison Table (Cytology vs Histology)

Basic Terms Cytology Histology 
Description It is a field in biology and medicine that deals with the study of the structure and functions of animal and plant cells. It is a biology field that deals with microscopic structures of tissues or tissue systems. 
Scope of Study Narrow study areaWider study area
Slide Preparation Simple Quite complex 
Importance Studies cellular areasArchitecture of tissues
Costs Techniques are less expensive Techniques are super expensive
Main Focus Cells Tissue, organs, and organ system. 
Specialty Give incredible observation on cellular detailsProvide detailed observations on tissue architecture. 
Dependency Samples and histotechnologist work.Slides and samples
TrainingLess intensive More intensive 
Slides Classification No slides classification Classified into fixing, processing, embedding, sectioning, and staining. 
Scientists CytotechnologistsHistotechnologists. 

What Is Cytology?

Cytology is the study of the chemical composition, structure, and functions of animal and plant cells. The field provides a microscopic examination of plant and animal cell samples.

Cytology is further divided into cell biology, cytogenetics, and cytopathology. Cell biology involves the study of structure, functions, constituents, physical features, division, death, and life cycle of cells.

Besides that, cytogenetics and cytopathology deal with the study of cellular diseases. But cytogenetics provides guidance on the genetic basis of cellular disease. 

Cytopathology on the other hand provides insight into the structural and functional properties of cellular diseases. 

Both cytogenetics and cytopathology help to analyze some medical conditions and infections. The report helps medical practitioners to treat the patient properly. 

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What Is Histology?

It is the study of the chemical composition, structure, and functions of tissues in living things. It is also known as a microscopic examination of samples. 

Slide preparation of histological examinations is quite complicated and expensive. The histological process involves fixing, processing, embedding, sectioning, and staining. 

The cell tissues are usually isolated and maintained in an artificial environment. It helps to provide research project answers through tissue culture. 

Histology is a crucial field in medicine since it helps to understand the properties of various diseases. Histopathology is a branch of histology which deals with the study of diseased tissues. 

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Main Difference between Cytology and Histology

  1. Cytology deals with the structure and functions of living organism cells while histology deals with the chemical composition, structure, and function of tissues. 
  2. The cytology scope of the study is narrow while the histology scope of the study is narrow. 
  3. Slide preparation in cytology is simple while in histology is complex. 
  4. Cytology focuses on cellular areas of cells while histology focuses on architecture of tissues.
  5. Cytological techniques are simple and inexpensive while histological techniques are complex and expensive. 

Similarities between Cytology and Histology

  1. Both are areas of biology. 
  2. Both study the microscopic anatomy of cells. 
  3. Both are crucial in the diagnosis of diseases. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is cytology the same as biopsy?

Not really. Both areas are crucial in the diagnosis of diseases by examining single cells and small clusters of cells. These studies help to detect cancer in the body. 

Can cytology detect cancer?

Absolutely. But other tests will be conducted before affirming the presence of cancer in the body after undertaking urine cytology tests. 

Is histology and histopathology the same?

Not really. Histology is the study of tissues and histopathology is the study of tissues in relation to their diseases. 

How is histopathology done?

It is done by conducting surgery and biopsy on the tissue for examination purposes. The tissue is usually removed from the body or plant for experts to dissect while in a fresh state. 

How long do histology results take?

The result usually takes two weeks to be out. If your result takes longer than two weeks, consider consulting your doctor for assistance. 

In Conclusion

The main difference between histology and cytology is that histology is the examination of tissue under a microscope while cytology is the examination of cells under a microscope. 

Histology focuses on providing excellent details of tissues and cytology on offering excellent details of cells. But histological studies are wider than that of cytology. 

Both cytology and histology are important fields in biology and medicine. We hope the above difference between cytology and histology was helpful. 

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