Examination of Autopsy Brain and Spinal Cord Specimens


Therapath provides expert diagnostic services for the examination of brain and spinal cord tissues removed at autopsy at outside institutions.  The examination is performed for the purpose of documenting the presence or absence of various disorders of the central nervous system.

Examples of disorders that are commonly confirmed or diagnosed at autopsy:

  • Neurodegenerative diseases:  Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, frontotemporal degenerations
  • Cerebrovascular disorders:  hemorrhagic and obstructive strokes, vascular malformations, vasculitis, cerebral amyloid angiopathy
  • Infectious disease:  bacterial, viral, fungal, pararsitic infections
  • Neoplasia:  brain and spinal cord tumors (primary, secondary , and metastatic)
  • Metabolic disorders:  vitamin deficiencies (such as thiamine and B12), various lysosomal storage disorders
  • Demyelinating disease:  multiple sclerosis, acute hemorrhagic leukoencephalopathy
  • Development malformations:  various structural malformations of cerebrum and cerebellum
  • Trauma:  acute and chronic traumatic injury to brain and spinal cord


1.  Removal of brain and spinal cord tissues are performed at an outside institution / facility.  Therapath does not provide tissue removal /procurement services.

2.  The tissues are fixed in formalin at the outside institution for at least 1 to 2 weeks.

3.  The tissues along with relevant clinical information are shipped to Therapath using the convenient shipping kit provided by Therapath.

4.  Gross macroscopic and microscopic examinations are performed by a board certified neuropathologist and documented in an autopsy pathology report.


1.  Prion disorders (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease):  Cases of suspected of or suspicious for prion disease should be referred to the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center (www.cjdsurveillance.com) who will provide services free of charge.

2.  Medicolegal cases:  Therapath is presently not interested in participating in tissue examinations for the purposes of litigation.

Download the requisition form