Olabe J, Olabe J, Sancho V. Human cadaver brain infusion model for neurosurgical training. Surg Neurol. 2009 Dec; 72(6):700-702

PMID: 19664809


BACKGROUND: Microneurosurgical technique and anatomical knowledge require extensive laboratory training before mastering these skills. There are diverse training models based on synthetic materials, anesthetized animals, cadaver animals, or human cadaver. Human cadaver models are especially beneficial because they are the closest to live surgery with the greatest disadvantage of lacking hemodynamic factors. We developed the "brain infusion model" to provide a simple but realistic training method minimizing animal use or needs for special facilities.
METHODS: Four human cadaveric brains donated for educational purposes were explanted at autopsy. Carotids and vertebral arteries were cannulated with plastic tubes and fixed with suture. Water was flushed through the tubings until the whole arterial vasculature was observed as clean. The cannulated specimens were fixed with formaldehyde. Tap water infusion at a flow rate of 10 L/h was infused through the arterial tubings controlled with a drip regulator filling the arterial tree and leaking into the interstitial and cisternal space.

RESULTS: Multiple microneurosurgical procedures were performed by 4 trainees. Cisternal and vascular dissection was executed in a very realistic fashion. Bypass anastomosis was created as well as aneurysm simulation with venous pouches. Vessel and aneurysm clipping and rupture situations were emulated and solution techniques were trained.
CONCLUSION: Standard microsurgical laboratories regularly have scarce opportunities for working with decapitated human cadaver heads but could have human brains readily available. The human brain infusion model presents a realistic microneurosurgical training method. It is inexpensive and easy to set up. Such simplicity provides the adequate environment for developing microsurgical techniques.

Author's contacts: jonolabe@hotmail.com