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      Walter Thiel's Embalming Method: Review of Solutions and Applications in Different Fields of Biomedical Research Translated title: Método de Embalsamamiento de Walther Thiel: Revisión de las Soluciones y sus Aplicaciones en Diferentes Campos de Investigación Biomédica

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          Walter Thiel developed the method that enables preservation of the body with natural colors in 1992. It consists in the application of an intravascular injection formula, and maintaining the corps submerged for a determinate period of time in the immersion solution in the pool. After immersion, it is possible to maintain the corps in a hermetically sealed container, thus avoiding dehydration outside the pool. The aim of this work was to review the Thiel method, searching all scientific articles describing this technique from its development point of view, and application in anatomy and morphology teaching, as well as in clinical and surgical practice. Most of these studies were carried out in Europe. We used PubMed, Ebsco and Embase databases with the terms "Thiel cadaver", "Thiel embalming", "Thiel embalming method" and we searched for papers that cited Thiel`s work. In comparison with methods commonly used with high concentrations of formaldehyde, this method lacks the emanation of noxious or irritating gases; gives the corps important passive joint mobility without stiffness; maintaining color, flexibility and tissue plasticity at a level equivalent to that of a living body. Furthermore, it allows vascular repletion at the capillary level. All this makes for great advantage over the formalin-fixed and fresh material. Its multiple uses are applicable in anatomy teaching and research; teaching for undergraduates (prosection and dissection) and for training in surgical techniques for graduates and specialists (laparoscopies, arthroscopies, endoscopies).

          Translated abstract

          En 1992, Walter Thiel desarrolló el método que permite la preservación del cuerpo con colores naturales. Consiste en la aplicación de una fórmula de inyección intravascular y el mantenimiento del cuerpo sumergido en pileta, en una solución de inmersión específica, durante un período determinado de tiempo. Después de la inmersión, es posible mantener el cuerpo en un recipiente herméticamente sellado, evitando así la pérdida del líquido fijador, fuera de la pileta. El objetivo de este trabajo fue revisar el método de Thiel, buscando todos los artículos científicos que describen esta técnica desde el punto de vista de su desarrollo, y su aplicación en la enseñanza de la anatomía y morfología, así como en la práctica clínica y quirúrgica. La mayoría de estos estudios se realizaron en Europa. Utilizamos las bases de datos PubMed, Ebsco y Embase con los términos "Thiel cadaver", "Thiel embalsamamiento", "método de embalsamamiento de Thiel" y se buscaron los documentos que citan el trabajo de Thiel. En comparación con los métodos comúnmente utilizados con altas concentraciones de formaldehído, este método carece de emanación de gases nocivos o irritantes; Da al cuerpo una movilidad articular pasiva importante sin rigidez; Manteniendo el color, la flexibilidad y la plasticidad del tejido a un nivel equivalente al de un cuerpo vivo. Además, permite la repleción vascular a nivel capilar. Todo esto hace una gran ventaja sobre el material fijado con formalina y fresco. Sus usos múltiples son aplicables en la enseñanza y la investigación de la anatomía; (prosección y disección) y para la formación en técnicas quirúrgicas para graduados y especialistas (laparoscopias, artroscopias, endoscopias).

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          Effects of three different preservation methods on the mechanical properties of human and bovine cortical bone.

          In the development of new strategies for fracture fixation, new methods have to be tested biomechanically under in vitro conditions before clinical trials can be performed. The gold standard for laboratory evaluations is fresh-frozen specimen. As the availability of fresh-frozen specimens is limited and since their use bears infectious risks, specimens treated with various chemical embalming fluids are also used. These preservation methods may alter the mechanical properties of the specimens used. Therefore, the aims of the present study were to determine the effects of three different preservation methods (formalin fixation (FO), Thiel-fixation (TH), and alcohol-glycerine fixation (AG)) on the elastic and postyield mechanical properties of cortical bone and to compare these properties to those of fresh-frozen (FF) specimens. Cylindrical cortical specimens (diameter 3mm, length 60 mm) were obtained from human femurs (n=48) and bovine tibiae (n=40). Before specimen immersion in different fixation fluids, bone mineral density (BMD) as well as the initial Young's modulus was determined. The Young's modulus was determined in a nondestructive bending test, and measurements were repeated after 6 months of immersion in fixative solution. Subsequent to the nondestructive test, a destructive 3-point bending test was conducted to assess the postyield and fracture properties. The BMD as well as the initial Young's modulus showed no significant differences between the four test groups. After 6 months in fixative solution, the Young's modulus was significantly lowered in human Thiel specimens and only showed minor changes in formalin- and alcohol-glycerine-treated specimens. The plastic energy absorption of human and bovine specimens was altered significantly. Formalin as well as alcohol-glycerine fixation yielded a significant decrease in plastic energy absorption, whereas Thiel fixation significantly increased the plastic energy absorption. Because of the significantly altered plastic mechanical properties of cortical bone, the use fresh-frozen bone specimens is recommended in biomechanical studies investigating failure loads of orthopaedic implants. The use of embalmed specimens should be restricted to pilot tests. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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            Die Konservierung ganzer Leichen in natürlichen Farben

             Walter Thiel (1992)
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              From formalin to Thiel embalming: What changes? One anatomy department's experiences.

               Don Lamb,  A R Soames,  R Eisma (2013)
              In 2009, the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification started Thiel embalming on a small scale to assess (i) the suitability for our current teaching in which long-lasting dissection courses are key, (ii) the potential for new collaborations and activities, and (iii) the practical implications of changing our embalming method from formalin to Thiel. Twenty six Thiel-embalmed cadavers have been used for dissection by staff and students on a taught MSc course, as a model for clinical and surgical training, and increasingly as a model for evaluation of new medical devices and procedures. Our experiences with dissection were mostly positive especially for teaching the musculoskeletal system. Internal organs handle differently from formalin-fixed organs and dissection manuals need to be adjusted to reflect this. Durability of the cadavers was not an issue, though changes are seen over time due to gradual fluid loss. We have started new collaborations related to postgraduate anatomy teaching and advanced training in surgical and clinical skills. In general, feedback is very positive and demand for cadavers outstrips our current limited supply. Thiel-embalmed cadavers were found to provide a unique opportunity for evaluation of medical products especially in areas where no suitable alternative model is available, and without the complications associated with clinical testing. This has resulted in new collaborations and research projects. As a result Thiel-embalmed cadavers are used for longer and for more activities than formalin cadavers: this requires changes in our procedures and staff roles. Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

                Author and article information

                Role: ND
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                International Journal of Morphology
                Int. J. Morphol.
                Sociedad Chilena de Anatomía (Temuco, , Chile )
                December 2016
                : 34
                : 4
                : 1442-1454
                Temuco orgnameUniversidad de La Frontera orgdiv1School of Education orgdiv2Department of Physical Education Chile
                Temuco orgnameUniversidad de La Frontera orgdiv1Dental School orgdiv2Research Center in Dental Sciences Chile
                orgnameUniversidad Autónoma de Chile orgdiv1Center of Biomedical Research Chile
                Temuco orgnameUniversidad de La Frontera orgdiv1School of Medicine Chile

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