Is there a chemical or process that would dissolve or remove all other tissues in an organ (in my case, i would like a heart) and leave all the vasculature and blood vessels intact?

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    Fascinating question. I'm not really sure Health is the best place to ask, though. I would imagine this would be something biologists would know how to do.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 5:47
  • @CareyGregory I posted it on the Biology feed too. Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 5:50
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    Not a formal answer, but there is a process (I have seen the awesome end product from it) where they inject a resin into the vasculature that then solidifies, and then they remove all the organic tissue from around it, and you are left with the branching "tree" of blood vessels. I saw one from the ventricles of the brain too, in our gross anatomy course. If you wanted the vessels themselves still intact, I can't think of any chemical or physiologic way to differentiate the vessels enough from the myocardium and cardiac connective tissue to selectively dissolve everything but the vessels...
    – DoctorWhom
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 6:14
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it seems better suited for biology SE.
    – Lucky
    Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 6:51
  • Voting to keep open as the answer ("plastination") created by a medical professional (von Hagen) at the medical university of Heidelberg clearly shows this question does have it's place on Health.SE
    – Narusan
    Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 6:25

2 Answers 2


Yes, this can basically be accomplished via plastination, whereby they replace the normal water in tissue with a form of silicone. You can use it on virtually any kind of tissue; first time I walked into an anatomy lab I grabbed a large slice of something... about 1-inch thick, with a large hole in its center and began wondering what it was. Only when I turned it on its side and noticed hair and a tooth did I realize I was looking at a sagital cut of a complete head)

If you look up the Bodies art show, you can find some very nice examples of this (When I saw it several years ago, they even had the vascular tree of a complete body)


  • I just visited the show a few weeks ago and yes, they do have the vascular tree of the whole body and just the heart.
    – Narusan
    Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 6:11

There is a procedure where you fill the coronary arteries and/or the venous system of the heart with acrylic resin, which quickly solidifies. You then submerge the whole heart into an acid solution which dissolves everything except the acrylic filling. What is left is a 3D replica of the heart arterial or venous system.

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