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Autopsy (cont.)

Autopsy Special Procedures

Pictures of findings at the autopsy may be taken for future reference. Photographic documentation is performed for many autopsies, particularly forensic autopsies for which the autopsy record may be important for a court case. In teaching hospitals, photographs of organs or tissues may be taken for research or instructional purposes. Organs may be preserved and stored in formalin for further examination, sampling for microscopy, presentation at conferences, or archiving for medical student training, depending on the particular situation and family consent.

Sometimes, the pathologist will order special laboratory studies to be carried out on tissue samples taken during an autopsy. These may include:

  • cultures or tests to identify infectious agents (bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi)
  • chemical analysis for metabolic abnormalities
  • genetic studies to identify disease-associated mutations or heritable diseases
  • toxicology studies to identify drugs, poisons, or exposures

Additionally, tissue may be frozen and stored for future diagnostic or research purposes.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/6/2014

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