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Anat Embryol (Berl). 1987;175(4):411-21.

The current potential of plastination.


This review surveys the potential of plastination, a technique of tissue preservation introduced eight years ago. In this process, water and lipids in biological tissues are replaced by curable polymer which are subsequently hardened, resulting in dry, odorless and durable specimens. The procedure consists of the following steps - fixation, dehydration, forced impregnation in a vacuum, and hardening. The properties of the finished specimen are determined by the class of polymer used. Silicone yields flexible, resilient specimens, allows the broadest range of application, and provides satisfactory results with minimum equipment. Specimens plastinated with an epoxy-silicone copolymer are rigid enough to be polished, but are not unbreakable. This resin is used for thick, opaque body slices and showcase specimens. Epoxy resins are used for thin (2.5 mm), transparent body or organ slices. They are cast between polyester foils or glass plates and can be used for histological investigations. Polyester resin is used for the production of opaque brain slices, which gives excellent differentiation between grey and white matter. The application of plastination in research and the production of teaching specimens is discussed with special regard to the equipment required, cost, and feasibility of the processing.

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