What to Look for in Your Cadaver Lab

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Choosing cadaveric tissue is important to consider when preparing for a surgical training event. There are many aspects when considering the use of tissue, utmost of course is the fact that these are people that wanted their last gift in life to be used to help further the scientific and medical fields and we need to remember to honor that request in the best way possible.

Since selecting the right tissue, or the right vendor are both required and important for your training, we put together a list of a few key areas to consider.


Deciding on a tissue provider can be a task in and of itself as there are many located throughout the country. The key is to look for a tissue provider that you can trust and who is accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks (A.A.T.B.). This means the facility is voluntarily undergoing regular inspections, as well as, doing everything possible to guarantee proper paperwork is in order, medical and social history’s of their patients are completed as thoroughly as possible and have been pre-screened for possible communicable diseases. Training facilities may also offer to provide your cadaveric tissue, taking a lot of the responsibility and paperwork out of your hands. When presented with this option you will want to make sure that the facility you are using for your cadaver lab is using a trusted source such as an AATB tissue vendor.


You will also want to ask a few questions about the facilities ability to process and store the tissue. Some facilities act as a pass through location for tissue and others can store tissue long term. A pass through facility will order the tissue thawed to be used for your lab and then immediately send back to the original tissue provider. Unfortunately in this scenario, if the tissue is shipped and arrives frozen, too thawed or overall in poor condition your lab experience and attendees will suffer from a sub standard training event.

Using a facility which has the ability to process and store tissue long term can offer benefits such as having additional specimens on hand as a back up, as well as, the ability to have the tissue sent in prior to the event so that it can be inspected for quality and replaced if needed. Inspecting a training facility that has the ability to store tissue is always a good idea just to be sure they are doing their best to be respectful of the tissue and have the proper facilities to deal with human cadaveric tissue.


Once you have ensured that your lab facility is accredited by A.A.T.B and has storage capabilities, ask if the tissue is fresh frozen. Often times, embalmed cadavers are used for educational efforts and allow the trainee to experience human anatomy, however, fresh frozen cadavers allow for a more realistic training.

At the Nicholson Center, we pride ourselves on our ability to store and utilize fresh frozen tissue. In addition, our full-time lab team works to ensure that each of our clients are presented with the best quality tissue. To learn more about our fifty station bioskills lab or the quality of our tissue, contact us today.



Tony Basica is the Clinical Skills Lab Assistant Manager for the Florida Hospital Nicholson Center. In addition to his duties assisting with the day to day activities within the skills lab Tony is directly responsible for running the inanimate tissue program. He works directly within the lab supporting all surgical training programs including numerous robotic platform, laparoscopic, orthopedic and endoscopic training courses. Additionally he is one of the Nicholson Center Robotic Training faculty members.

Prior to beginning his career with the Nicholson Center Tony and two partners imagined, designed and built the first pet hotel in West Orange County in 1999. Today, his pet hotel currently employs seven part time employees and serves the pets of our community.

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