BACKGROUND: Latex injection of cadaveric heads is an alternative to the standard technique of silicone injection. Thorough injections of the arterial and venous systems can be achieved by analyzing the anatomic and physiological variations of the vascular system of each specimen during the initial irrigation phase to tailor the subsequent latex injection.
OBJECTIVE: To report on an improved method for color latex injection of cadaveric specimens using these techniques.
METHODS: Thirty-two cadaver heads were injected and preserved for anatomic dissection. The critical steps included (1) cannulation of the cervical arteries and veins with Foley or Coude catheters, (2) “indirect” anatomic study of the vasculature during irrigation with water of the major arteries and veins, (3) fixation of the specimen with either formaldehyde or alcohol, and (4) color injection of the arteries and veins with red and blue latex, respectively. The injected specimens were dissected and assessed qualitatively for the extent and detail of arterial and venous filling. Assessment and recording of flow characteristics from the specimens during water irrigation of the arterial and venous systems dictated the order and technique for subsequent latex injections.
RESULTS: Latex injections resulted in deeper penetration of colored solutions into small cerebral vessels and mesenchymal structures. Of 32 injected specimens, 25 (78%) had outstanding injections and 7 (21.8%) had suboptimal results. Latex solutions are simpler to use than silicone solutions.
CONCLUSION: Latex injection of cadaveric heads based on indirect anatomic and physiological assessment of the vasculature of the specimen during the water irrigation phase results in outstanding specimens for microanatomical studies.