Plastinated anatomical teaching aids have many benefits compared to plastic models and embalmed cadavers. The plastination preservation method has changed the way medical professionals and students engage with, and learn about, the human body.

Plastinated anatomical teaching aids allow students a deep examination of the human anatomy without the hassle of having to dissect the tissue themselves.

With plastination, the human tissue still has to be dissected first, but when the polymers harden, it is possible to provide a deep glimpse into the human body and reveal the anatomical structure from within that would have otherwise been concealed.

Plastinated specimens are able to display much more than man-made 3-D plastic models, simply because they come from real human cadaveric donors.

Pathology specimens such as cancer/tumors, arthritis, cysts, etc. can now be preserved and studied by medical students, which can ultimately lead to new discoveries and treatments for these conditions. 

With embalmed cadavers that students use for dissecting, the tissue is only usable for up to 6-12 months, if that, before it begins to decay and give off a foul odor. Plastinated anatomical teaching aids are made to last indefinitely. 

Open specimens are unpleasant to work with due to the formalin vapor emitted and require lots of maintenance as the tissue rapidly deteriorates and dries out.

Embalmed cadavers tend to smell of formaldehyde, which is very toxic and makes the dissection process for the students more difficult, whereas plastinated specimens have almost no odor and are made to be handled directly by the students.

Michigan Plastination Laboratory, Inc.’s plastination process allows for the production of specimens to be without any discoloration, shrinkage, drying or odor.

Not only are plastinated anatomical teaching aids more suitable for students, but also more practical from the university’s standpoint:

Universities tend to have their own willed body donation program, or they have to seek out donor programs for their human tissue needs, which not only costs a considerable amount of money, but also a lot of their time.

With plastinated teaching aids, they can be used year after year, saving the school on body donor costs and time spent organizing such a program.

Some universities, due to religious reasons, do not allow access to body donors, so plastinated teaching aids are a great alternative.