The gross examination is critical to making accurate diagnoses on placental specimens. An orderly evaluation of the cord, membranes and villous tissue allows maximal opportunity to recognize abnormalities. Many lesions have a pathognomonic gross appearance while other processes are best seen on histology. Quantitation of the volume of placental tissue involved in by an abnormal process is necessary to distinguish normal variation from significant pathology. Histologic sections must include cord, membranes and central villous tissue.