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Skull base surgery. 1993 January; 3(1): 1–6.
PMCID: PMC1656405

Preparation of the Human Skull for Skull Base Anatomic Study


Human skulls are unsurpassed in the ability to provide three-dimensional instruction in osteology as well as understanding the sites of soft tissue insertion and the intricate course of neurovascular structures in the skull base. Recent geopolitical developments in Asia have led to extreme difficulty in obtaining human skull specimens. The purpose of this article is to present a method for the preparation of dried human skulls from fresh and frozen cadavers using commonly available chemicals. The technique, requiring about 8 weeks total time and basic equipment, consists of maceration accelerated by several enzymes followed by defatting, washing, and bleaching. The skulls produced are of excellent quality and durability with no preparation artifacts. An economical source of skulls has now been reestablished to facilitate learning of the intricate relationships of the skull base.

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  • Hefti E, Trechsel U, Rüfenacht H, Fleisch H. Use of dermestid beetles for cleaning bones. Calcif Tissue Int. 1980;31(1):45–47. [PubMed]

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