n Health SA Gesondheid - Plastination technology for anatomical studies in Nigeria : opinion of teachers at medical institutions : original research

Volume 18, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1025-9848



Dr. Gunther von Hagens developed plastination as a technique of tissue preservation in 1977. He used a delicate method of forced impregnation with curable polymers like silicone, epoxy or polyester resins for preservation of anatomical specimens. With plastination, every part of a biological tissue is treated, preserving it for educational purposes. Hence, there are vast applications in the medical field. We set out to survey the knowledge and opinion of lecturers of anatomy about plastinated specimen use in medical schools through the administration of questionnaires to respondents who participated at the Society of Experimental and Clinical Anatomists of Nigeria (SECAN) conference in 2011. It was found that 50.0% and 23.75% of respondents respectively, had their masters and doctorate degrees in Anatomy. Less than 8.0% utilised plastination as a tool for teaching as against 40% (plastic models), 36.25% (cadavers) and 15.0% (pathology pots). Conventional methods such as fixation by immersion (15.0%) and embalming (52.5%) with formaldehyde were commonly used for long term preservation of tissues in their various institutions. These methods were found to be less costly (25.0%), easy to use (56.25%) and the only method (12.25%) available, even though they posed some health hazards (96.0%). Whilst only 6.25% of the respondents did not know anything about plastination, 93.75% were aware of it. The advocacy for preservation of tissues by plastination has been gradual in developed countries. We recommend the use of plastinates in medical schools in Nigeria.

Dr. Gunther von Hagens het in 1977 plastinering as 'n tegniek vir weefselbewaring ontwikkel. Hy gebruik 'n delikate metode van gedwonge bevrugting met geneesbare polimere soos silikoon, epoksi of poliësterhars vir die behoud van anatomiese monsters. Met plastinering word elke deel van 'n biologiese weefsel behandel, om dit vir opvoedkundige doeleindes te bewaar. Om die rede is daar wye toepassings in die mediese veld. Ons het ten doel gehad om die kennis en menings van dosente in anatomie in mediese skole oor plastineringsmonsters, aan te teken. Dit is gedoen deur die uitreiking van vraelyste aan respondente wat in 2011 'n konferensie van die Vereniging van Eksperimentele en Kliniese Anatomiste in Nigerië (SECAN) bygewoon het. Daar is bevind dat 50.0% en 23.75% van die respondente onderskeidelik beskik oor meesters- en doktorsgrade in Anatomie. Minder as 8.0% gebruik plastinering as 'n instrument vir onderrig teenoor 40% (plastiekmodelle), 36.25% (kadawers) en 15.0% (patologiepotte). Konvensionele metodes soos fiksasie deur onderdompeling (15.0%) en balseming (52.5%) met formaldehied word algemeen gebruik vir die langtermyn bewaring van weefsel in hul onderskeie instellings. Hierdie metodes is, na raming, goedkoper (25.0%), en maklik om te gebruik. Slegs 6.25% van die respondente het geen kennis van plastinering gehad nie, terwyl 93.75% daarvan bewus was. Die gebruik van plastinering as preservering van weefsel groei geleidelike in ontwikkelde lande. Ons beveel die gebruik van plastinades in mediese skole in Nigerië aan.

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