Autopsy & forensics


Standard autopsy report

Last author update: 1 January 2006
Last staff update: 3 November 2020

Copyright: 2002-2022,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Autopsy standard [title]

Nat Pernick, M.D.
Page views in 2021: 809
Page views in 2022 to date: 796
Cite this page: Pernick N. Standard autopsy report. website. Accessed December 9th, 2022.
Standard sections, gross and micro (pending)
CNS - standard sections
  • Spinal cord (2 - 3 levels), medulla, pons, midbrain, cerebellum, hypothalamus, basal ganglia, hippocampus, thalamus, parietal cortex, occipital cortex, cingulate gyrus, superior temporal gyrus, paracentral cortex and pituitary
CNS - sample gross description
  • The scalp and skull are entered in a standard biparietal, postauricular manner. Then dura is intact and the sagittal sinus is patent. The prefixation brain weight is __ grams. The formalin fixed brain weights __ grams. The cerebral and cerebellar hemispheres are symmetrical with no masses, areas of discoloration or gross lesions identified. There is no evidence of midline shift. There is no uncal, subfalcine or tonsillar softening or grooving. The sulci / gyri are unremarkable, with no atrophy identified. The leptomeninges are thin, translucent and without hemorrhage. The circle of Willis is intact, with no atherosclerotic plaque. Coronal sections of the cerebral hemispheres show well delineated gray and white matter structures. The ventricles are symmetric and not dilated. Distal blood vessels are unremarkable.

  • Axial sections of the midbrain, pons and medulla are symmetrical with well delineated gray and white matter structures. The substantia nigra and locus ceruleus are well pigmented. The aqueduct and fourth ventricle are unremarkable. Parasagittal sections of the cerebellum show well delineated white and gray matter structures with prominent folia.

  • The pituitary is removed from the sella and is grossly unremarkable. The spinal cord is removed by an anterior approach. Axial sections of the spinal cord are symmetric with well delineated gray and white matter.
CNS - sample microscopic description
  • The spinal cord shows ... The midbrain, pons and medulla show mild neuronal loss and gliosis consistent with the patient's age. The cerebellum, basal ganglia and thalamus are unremarkable. The hippocampus shows no senile plaques or neurofibrillary tangles. The cerebral neocortex is unremarkable.
Back to top
Image 01 Image 02