Walter Thiel’s Embalming Method. Review of Solutions and Applications in Different Fields of Biomedical Research.

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Nicolás Ernesto Ottone; Claudia A. Vargas; Ramón Fuentes & Mariano del Sol


Walter Thiel developed the method that enables preservation of the body with natural colors in 1992. It consists in the application of an intravascular injection formula, and maintaining the corps submerged for a determinate period of time in the immersion solution in the pool. After immersion, it is possible to maintain the corps in a hermetically sealed container, thus avoiding dehydration outside the pool. The aim of this work was to review the Thiel method, searching all scientific articles describing this technique from its development point of view, and application in anatomy and morphology teaching, as well as in clinical and surgical practice. Most of these studies were carried out in Europe. We used PubMed, Ebsco and Embase databases with the terms “Thiel cadaver”, “Thiel embalming”, “Thiel embalming method” and we searched for papers that cited Thiel`s work. In comparison with methods commonly used with high concentrations of formaldehyde, this method lacks the emanation of noxious or irritating gases; gives the corps important passive joint mobility without stiffness; maintaining color, flexibility and tissue plasticity at a level equivalent to that of a living body. Furthermore, it allows vascular repletion at the capillary level. All this makes for great advantage over the formalin- fixed and fresh material. Its multiple uses are applicable in anatomy teaching and research; teaching for undergraduates (prosection and dissection) and for training in surgical techniques for graduates and specialists (laparoscopies, arthroscopies, endoscopies).

KEY WORDS: Embalming; Dissection; Walter Thiel; Surgical training; Review.

How to cite this article

OTTONE, N. E.; VARGAS, C. A.; FUENTES, R. & DEL SOL, M. Walter Thiel’s embalming method. Review of solutions and applications in different fields of biomedical research. Int. J. Morphol., 34(4):1442-1454, 2016.