Introduction to Plastination
Plastination is a method of preserving biological specimens useful for the study of Anatomy. It is a process that involves the replacement of water and fat in biological tissue with a polymeric substance known as silicone. This method was first introduced by Dr. Gunther Von Hagen in Heidelberg, Germany in 1978. Specimens that have undergone the process of plastination are referred to as plastinated specimens. The resulting specimen is as hard as plastic but retains its original structure.
Among the advantages of plastinated specimens are:
- Eliminates unpleasant odour from the specimen.
- Hazard free specimen.
- The structure of the specimen becomes stronger and durable.
- The structure of the specimen remains the same as the original (life like state of human tissue).
- It's easier to maintain.
- Save on maintenance and labor costs.
Comparison of preparation using traditional methods compared with plastinated specimens:
- Wet specimens should always be soaked in formalin solution. Formalin vapours can be detrimental to health and students may experience uncomfortable strong odour during practical sessions.
- The chemicals used in the storage of wet specimens are hazardous and carcinogenic to humans.
- The specimens are soft and easily damaged by being soaked in formalin solution.
- The original structure of the specimen is easily damaged and may not retain its original structure.
- Ongoing maintenance is required. The fixation material (Formalin) needs to be changed regularly to prevent fungal growth which can cause the specimen to break down quickly.
- Less economical because it requires high maintenance costs and a large workforce.
The Department of Anatomy has been involved with plastination since 2005. The department has also sent several of the academic and supporting staff to learn the techniques of preparation directly from the source in Heidelberg, Germany and also in Dalian, China. Now the department is proud to have a complete Plastination Laboratory capable of performing the entire process from the start to finish. This laboratory which is located on the 1st floor of PPUKM Preclinical Building, is one of the best in the country. Among others, the purpose of the establishment of this laboratory is to diversify, preserve and supply the anatomy specimen for the purpose of learning and teaching for students of this university.
Among the students who benefit from using this specimen are:
- Medical students in 1st and 2nd year
- Dental students
- Degree from the Faculty of Allied Health Sciences
- Students from Biomedical Science Program
- Students from Physiotherapy Program
- Students from Audiology and Speech Science
- Diagnostic and Imaging Students
- Students of Forensic Science
- Nursing Students
- Students of Diploma in Nursing
- Students from Master of Medical Science (Anatomy)
- PhD students (Anatomy)
- Masters students in Surgery and Orthopaedic
- Masters students in Orthodontic
We also welcome visitors from the local and overseas public and private educational institutions who are interested in learning more about this preservation technique.
In addition to educational purposes, we also offer plastination services to interested public and private educational institutions. Please refer to the Plastination Service section under the Services menu.
Among the whole body specimen that we have produced: