HOW SPECIMENS ARE PRODUCED...
The cornerstone of Polymeric Embalming is the replacement of water and lipids in biological tissues with transparent liquid polymers and resin.
After this processing anatomical specimens acquire new unique properties:
- Toxic preservatives and other detrimental substances are removed from organs together with water. This makes plastinated specimens absolutely environmentally friendly and safe for long time storage without any special precautions or treatment.
- Removal of water stops enzymatic reactions and microbial rot. This prevents after-death changes in any biological object. That is why plastinated specimens have no smell and do not get out of order for long.
- Substitution of water for chemically inert polymer makes it possible to store specimens open-air without reprocessing with preservatives. The use of special containers or hermetical containers is not needed.
- They are also non-hazardous to bare hands (ungloved). The plastinated specimen wear-resistance greatly exceeds the conventional "wet" or "dry" specimens traditionally used today. This ensures their easy usage and convenient demonstrability.
The whole process of polymer embalming, from fixation of fresh biological material to polymer curing within the specimen, takes from two to seven months depending on the size and complexity of the particular specimen.
There are four consequent stages of Polymeric Embalming:
- Manual specimen dissection
- Dehydration and defatting
- Impregnation of the liquid polymer
- Polymer curing
Manual dissection of anatomical specimens by anatomists traditionally is a meticulous work. Sometimes special equipment and electric tools can be used, but still over ninety percent of this work requires tweezers and a scalpel in skilful hands. The same way as no two pictures or sculptures are the same, every specimen we prepare is unique. Many specimens manufactured by our experienced specialists are regarded as masterpieces of the art of specimen preparation.
Both treated and untreated (fresh) biological material is usable for polymeric embalming. Any preserving solutions can be used as fixing agents.
For additional demonstrability and educational value of polymer specimens, the vasculature of polymer impregnated specimens is injected with a dyed curable media based on epoxy resins, latex, silicone, gelatin, etc.
Also, the use of thin slides of organs or cross-sections of a whole body (layer specimens) is very helpful for proper understanding of internal structure of the organs and their positional relationship.
The Dehydration of specimens is conducted in special cryogenic chambers at sub-zero temperatures. A special patented solution replaces water in organs. The water content in tissues drops up to one percent within few days. Some original technical innovations enable us to provide a very gradual dehydration. This allows preserving the total volume of specimens during the following chemical processing.
After dehydration there comes a delipidization process at ambient temperature which increases solubility of tissue lipids in intermediate solvents. The extraction of tissue lipids happens within seven days due to the method improvement.
Our custom-made, special
The Impregnation of specimens with polymer composition requires the use of vacuum chamber both at low and ambient temperature. Dehydrated and delipidizated specimens are immersed into polymer and placed into a . After that the internal pressure of the chamber is decreased smoothly. Because of pressure suppression the intermediate solvents burst into vacuum boiling and bubbling. As a result the polymer impregnates the space of bubbles in tissue structures. The use of new polymers allows carrying out the impregnation process at ambient temperature which substantially reduces this stage of treatment.
At the stage of polymerization polymers that penetrated into tissues and organs participate in chemical reaction of polymerization. Separate molecules and short chains bind each other, producing gigantean polymeric chains. As a result, polymers loose fluidity and become hardened. After polymerization, specimens may be shaped or prepared again. Before their final use in educational process, all specimens should be kept for a couple of hours in isostatic and isothermal conditions for final polymer curing, the process of polymerization of silicone in deep layers of the organs.