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Surg Radiol Anat. 2011 May;33(4):359-63. doi: 10.1007/s00276-010-0705-6. Epub 2010 Jul 28.

Is Thiel's embalming method widely known? A world survey about its use.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Teaching Hospital, Dijon, France.



Thiel's embalming technique, first described by Thiel in 1992, conserves texture and colour in cadavers close to that observed in the living. It would appear that few anatomy laboratories use this method, and literature describing its use worldwide is sparse. The aim of our study was to conduct a worldwide survey on the use of this method.


A questionnaire was sent out by mail to 311 anatomy laboratories or institutes across the five continents. There were six multiple choice questions to assess the level of awareness of Thiel's method, the frequency of its use among respondent institutions, the most frequently used solutions for conservation of cadavers and perceived obstacles to the use of Thiel's technique.


109/311 (35%) centres replied to the questionnaire; 56% of centres had previously heard of Thiel's technique, but only 11 centres (10% of respondents) used it regularly, and all of these were in Europe. Formalin remains the most widely used conservation solution around the world.


Thiel's embalming technique is not widely known, and therefore, little used. The main obstacle to its wider use is likely the language barrier, since most of the publications describing Thiel's method are in German, which is not widely spoken outside of a few European countries.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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