Rapid ultrathin slice plastination of embalmed specimens with minimal tissue loss



A modified technique of producing 1 mm (ultrathin) E12 plastinated slices of tissue specimens from embalmed cadavers for anatomical teaching and research is described. Specimens up to 150 mm in length and width were embedded in polyurethane foam and serially sectioned using an OMAS C300 food slicer. Individual slices were then processed by cold dehydration, degreasing, resin impregnation, mounting and curing. Bone-containing specimens were first decalcified. Tissue slices could be cut with remarkable accuracy (0.98 ± 0.01 mm per slice) and minimal tissue loss (less than 2% per slice). The entire production process could be achieved in 25 days and was associated with tissue volume shrinkage of no more than 6%. These results demonstrate a relatively rapid method of producing ultrathin E12 slices with minimal tissue loss. The technique may be particularly applicable to submacroscopic morphologic studies and three-dimensional reconstruction in clinical anatomy. Clin. Anat. 23:539–544, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.