Organ dissection — endocrine system

  • Michael T. Sheaff
  • Deborah J. Hopster


For the purposes of post mortem dissection, the endocrine system is composed of the thyroid gland, the parathyroid glands, the adrenal glands and the pituitary gland. Although there are obviously other endocrine organs, they either form part of a diffuse endocrine system, such as in the bronchial and intestinal mucosa, or are embedded within another organ, such as the endocrine pancreas. The routine removal of the thyroid gland, the adrenal glands, the parathyroid glands and the pituitary gland have already been described in the evisceration and block dissection chapters. This chapter details the further dissection of these now separated glands. After a discussion of each gland, it then details any special techniques that may need to be employed when a variety of special circumstances are encountered and then detailed. This is followed by a discussion of other special techniques that relate more generally to the endocrine system, including the examination of the paraganglia. Pathology within the endocrine system is not found particularly often at autopsy, and when identified is even less commonly the cause of death. Nevertheless, the examination of the endocrine system is part of any thorough post mortem examination, and does occasionally produce surprises, particularly on histological examination. A set of scales that are accurate for small weights are an absolute necessity for the adequate assessment of endocrine glands.


Adrenal Gland Thyroid Gland Pituitary Gland Parathyroid Gland Focal Lesion 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael T. Sheaff
    • 1
  • Deborah J. Hopster
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Morbid Anatomy and HistopathologyRoyal London HospitalLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of HistopathologyKing’s College HospitalLondonUK

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