Prostheses

Skeletal contours and continuity of tubular bones or of the spinal column must be restored after the autopsy. An assortment of wooden prostheses should be available for insertion in place of the removed bone. A simple substitute is a wooden rod with two nails protruding from both ends. After the heads of the nails are sawed off, the nails are inserted into the wooden rod. The tips of the nails are then driven into the proximal and distal portions of the bone. Complete segments of the spinal column can be replaced by such prostheses. Wooden spokes may serve this purpose. For replacing the hip, angular metal rods are useful. Plaster of Paris provides a good prosthesis for the calva-rium. Simple wood dowels and plastic tubing is recommended as replacement for bones and joints of fingers and toes. As stated in Chapter 1, procedures involving the extremities require special permission. Incisions should not be visible when the body is viewed; normal contours, particularly of the hands, must be restored. Most pathologists are now very reluctant to remove samples from such areas.

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