Although the basic principles of intraoperative diagnosis in surgical neuropathology have not changed in the last century, the last several decades have seen dramatic changes in tumor classification, terminology, molecular classification, and modalities used for intraoperative diagnosis. As many neuropathologic intraoperative diagnoses are performed by general surgical pathologists, awareness of these recent changes is important for the most accurate intraoperative diagnosis.


To describe recent changes in the practice of intraoperative surgical neuropathology, with an emphasis on new entities, tumor classification, and anticipated ancillary tests, including molecular testing.

Data Sources.—

The sources for this review include the fifth edition of the World Health Organization Classification of Tumours of the Central Nervous System, primary literature on intraoperative diagnosis and newly described tumor entities, and the authors' clinical experience.


A significant majority of neuropathologic diagnoses require ancillary testing, including molecular analysis, for appropriate classification. Therefore, the primary goal for any neurosurgical intraoperative diagnosis is the identification of diagnostic tissue and the preservation of the appropriate tissue for molecular testing. The intraoperative pathologist should seek to place a tumor in the most accurate diagnostic category possible, but specific diagnosis at the time of an intraoperative diagnosis is often not possible. Many entities have seen adjustments to grading criteria, including the incorporation of molecular features into grading. Awareness of these changes can help to avoid overgrading or undergrading at the time of intraoperative evaluation.

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Competing Interests

The authors have no relevant financial interest in the products or companies described in this article.

Author notes

Presented at the New Frontiers in Pathology Conference; October 26–28, 2022; Ann Arbor, Michigan.