Techniques for human temporal bone removal: information for the scientific community

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1996 Oct;115(4):298-305. doi: 10.1016/S0194-5998(96)70042-6.


Human temporal bones provide an irreplaceable resource for study of the pathology and pathophysiology of disorders of hearing, balance, taste, and facial nerve function. Additional specimens are needed to study disorders for which there are few human specimens; to increase the number of specimens for a given disorder to understand the natural variability and expression of the disease entity; to evaluate the accuracy of otologic diagnoses and the efficacy of otologic treatment modalities; to apply newly available scientific methods, including immunohistochemistry and molecular biologic or molecular genetic techniques; and to teach the anatomy of the human ear and modern otologic surgical techniques. This article provides information for the scientific community concerning techniques for temporal bone and auditory brain stem removal, including intracranial and extracranial approaches and methods to minimize postmortem autolysis and cosmetic defects. Close collaboration between physicians and funeral directors will maximize the yield and utility of these valuable specimens for scientific inquiry and training.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Stem / surgery
  • Embalming
  • Humans
  • Specimen Handling / methods*
  • Temporal Bone / pathology
  • Temporal Bone / surgery*