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Gallery: Medical Instruments and Teaching Aids previous 11 of 15 next


Dry Specimen Preparation of Arteries of Head and Neck

Dry Specimen Preparation of Arteries of Head and Neck
A desire for anatomic teaching models developed due to problems of the preservation of specimens, a shortage of cadavers, and public objection to human dissections.

The art of wax injection began in 1672 with the published descriptions of the technique by anatomist Jan Swammerdam (1637-1680). He melted wax in different colors, quickly filled a syringe, and injected the wax into the vein or artery of a dissection. Once the wax cooled, a cast of the vessels formed, and the surrounding tissue was carefully dissected, providing the medical student with an excellent concept of the vascular system. A coating of resin was applied to protect and seal the specimen. A sugar resin was sometimes used, so that models like this one exude a sweet odor. The preparation techniques used to create the model were well established by the close of the 18th century.

No. 301. Donated by Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes and prepared by Dr. Hodges. 1850.

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