A small amount of acetic acid (AA), a common preservative, has been shown to increase contamination in cadaveric tissue, while larger concentrations can lead to the tissue becoming hard, especially in fresh brains. This study attempted to optimize the concentration of AA to be used in the cranial cavity in order to produce the most realistic consistency and color. Six adult cadaveric heads were preserved with descending glacial AA at concentrations of 98.5 %, 80 %, 60 %, 40 %, 20 %, and 10 %. The samples were kept at 5 °C for 14 days. The brain cortex was then dissected with a suction tube and forceps to reveal the underlying brain tissue for inspection. Color change, cortical firmness, pia mater stickiness, and participant satisfaction were evaluated. The color of the brains in all concentrations was slightly yellow. However, the temporal area of the brain preserved using 20 % AA was significantly more pink. The pia mater of the brain cortex of all samples was firm and difficult to pry apart, with the firmest consistency being in the brain tissue preserved using 98.5 % AA. The brain tissue in all samples had a liquid-like consistency. The brains preserved in AA at a concentration greater than 60 % yielded higher satisfaction scores. We conclude that acetic acid has a role in brain preservation for skull base surgery training and recommend AA concentrations higher than 60 % for maximal participants satisfaction.
KEY WORDS: Acetic acid; Concentration; Preservation; Fresh cadaver; Brain.