[Histonet] embalmed cadaver tissue

Bob Richmond rsrichmond at gmail.com
Thu Dec 10 12:49:05 CST 2015

Nancy Schmitt at pa-ucl.com asks: >>Does anyone work with embalmed cadaver
tissue?  How is this handled for successful processing?<<

Funeral directors embalm bodies using a solution of formaldehyde, alcohol,
and dyes. I've autopsied a number of embalmed bodies. Tissue is sort of
half-fixed, and will usually finish fixing quite satisfactorily if the
pathologist puts pieces of tissue of the customary size into neutral
buffered formalin overnight.

If an embalmed body is to be autopsied, only the arterial embalming should
be done first. If they do the "cavity embalming" as well they make a mess
of the organs. This is something that needs to be worked out with the
embalmer in advance.

You can't do microbiological cultures on an embalmed body - that's the
major disadvantage.

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Maryville TN

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