Removal of the Brain in Human Cadaver - Neuroanatomy


Teaching with the media such as video is brain friendly because it provides interactive abstract learning that utilizes the categorical memory and requires little intrinsic motivation. Neuroanatomy is an integral part of human anatomy that is taught to medical students.


This video preparation is an attempt to offer interactive learning of the practical aspect of neuroanatomy to medical students and prospective surgeons who are studying for higher degree in neuroanatomy. It is focused on the systemic approach of removal of the brain in human cadaver and practical demonstration of the gross anatomy of the related structures which include scalp, calvarium cranial cavity, dura mater, dura sinus as well as dural spaces.


It gives further emphasis to the relation of the neuroanatomy in the clinical practise. The clinical note section discussed the clinical correlation of the topics.


In order that students may self-test their understanding of the topics in relation to clinical practice, case presentation and problem-based questions have been included end of the video. Should students wish to acquire further knowledge of the area, list of reference books have been included at the end of section

Author(s): Dr. Casmiel K. OsabuteyView Details of Author
Year: 2012
Keywords: brain, anatomy, nueroanatomy, dural sinuses, human brain, brain removal
Licensing Condition:

cc-by-nc© 2012, KNUST

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Any information and/or video demonstration in this material is intended to inform and to educate and is not a tool for self-diagnosis or a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional. You should speak to your lecturer, healthcare professional or lab technician and make an appointment, if you have questions or concerns about this information.


Viewer discretion is advised: The educational material contained herein may contain medical images that non-professional viewers may find disturbing. References herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favouring by the Department of Anatomy. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Department of Anatomy, and should not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes. Users should consider the need to obtain any appropriate professional advice relevant to their own particular circumstances.


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Original image courtesy of LadyofHats. Remixed under CC0 1.0 license

Human body is organised into 4 structural  and functional levels:-

Cellular level
Tissue level
Organ level
System level


Each of these levels contributes to the totality of the organism. These organizational levels form the basis for the various specialities and the approaches of studying the subject of anatomy.



The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of human life. It is at this level that vital functions of life (e.g. metabolism, growth, irritability repair and reproduction) are carried out.

A cell is composed of minute particles

called atoms which aggregate to form large particle called molecules which further bound together into macromolecules. Certain macromolecules are arranged into small functional structures called organelles. The nucleus, mitochondria, and endoplasmic reticulum are cellular organelles. Each these organelles performs a specific function within the cell.

The human body contains many specialised cells, each of which performs specific function; e.g. nerve cell, muscle cell, bone cell, blood cell etc. Each of these cell types has unique structure which are directly related to its function.



Tissues are aggregation of similar cells that perform specific functions. Example, the myometrium of uterus is a tissue, which contains mainly uterine smooth muscle cells, whose function is to contract the uterus during labour.

In human, there are 4 basic tissues –

Epithelial tissue
Nervous or nerve tissue
Muscle or muscular tissue
Connective tissue

Note: Some authorities consider blood as a separate tissue


An organ is formed by an aggregation of two or more tissues which are integrated in such a way that it performs a particular function. Examples of organs include; heart, uterus, stomach, skin etc. Each organ has one or more primary tissues and several secondary tissues.
In the stomach, for example, the inner epithelial lining is considered the primary tissue because the primary functions of the stomach – absorption and secretion occur within this layer.
The secondary tissues of the stomach are the supporting connective tissues, smooth muscles, vascular and nervous tissues.



The body system consists of the group of organs that have similar or related functions. Examples of system are digestive, circulatory, nervous systems. Certain organs may serve several systems. For example, pancreas functions with both the digestive and endocrine systems.
All the systems of the body are interrelated in functions, constituting the total organism
This system level forms the basis for the various clinical specialities.


Functions and Organization of Human Nervous System





The nervous system is divided into:

Central Nervous System (CNS) which include the brain and spinal cord.

Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) which include cranial nerves and spinal nerves.




Describe the anatomy of the scalp and how the scalp can be separated from the cranial vault or calvarium.

Separate the cranial vault to display the content of the cranial cavity; describe the relevant anatomy herein.

Describe the anatomy of the cranial dura mater and how to cut through the dura to display the dural folds.

Describe the intracranial compartments.

Identify the position and location of the dural sinuses relation to the dural fold.

Describe the anatomy of base of cranial cavity, relevant structures and foramina.


Lesson Content


Introduction (video)



Separation of the scalp (video)
Separation of the scalp



Cutting through the calvarium (video)
Cutting through the calvarium



Demonstration of dural mater and dural fold (video)
Demonstration of dural mater and dural fold



Demonstration of superficial cerebral veins and dural sinuses (video)
Demonstration of superficial cerebral veins and dural sinuses



Clinical Notes (video)
Clinical Notes



Self Assessment Quiz

These Self Assessment Case Questions are meant to test your knowledge and understanding of the lesson that you have just undertaken, so please endeavour to answer them before cross checking with the provided answers.

(Note: Links may open in a new window behind this one)



Following an industrial accident, a 30 year old woman sustained an injury to the head and was bleeding profusely. She was rushed to the emergency unit of a hospital where medical officers on duty diagnosed degloving injury of the scalp.


1. What is degloving injury?

2. In which layer of the scalp is degloving likely to occur?

3. Why should the woman bleed so profusely?

4. Describe the blood supply to the scalp

5. What treatment is likely to be given?

CASE 1: Answers



A 60 year old woman fell and hit the back of the head hard on a cemented floor. She did not lose consciousness but was slightly confused. There was a tensed swelling at the back of the head. She was taken to a hospital where the medical officer diagnosed scalp haematoma but would monitor her condition for a while.


1. Describe the five layers of the scalp.

2. Which layer would the haematoma likely to be located?

3. What prevents the haematoma from spreading?

CASE 2: Answers



During a hockey match, a hockey stick struck the side a player’s head. He fell and became unconscious for a short while then regained consciousness. He complained of an intense headache and blurred vision. He was taken to a hospital, where following emergency clinical investigations, he was diagnosed of having fracture skull and extradural haemorrhage. He was prepared for emergency surgery.


1. Describe the dural spaces.

2. Name the part of the skull that is likely to be fractured.

3. Why should the player require emergency surgery?

CASE 3: Answers


A young man fell off a motor bicycle and hit the head hard on the ground. He was not wearing a helmet. He was momentary stunned and complained of blurred vision and lingering headache. A clear fluid was dripping from the nose. A hospital investigation revealed a fracture skull.


1. Which part of the skull is likely to be fractured?

2. What do you suspect might be the source of the clear fluid?

CASE 4: Answers








    1. Snell RS (1992): Clinical Neuroanatomy for Medical Students, 3rd Edition pages 36-37.

    2. Heimer L (1994): The Human brain and spinal cord: functional and dissection guide, 2nd edition pages 43 – 47.

    3. Sinnatamby CS (1999): Last’s Anatomy: Regional and Applied, 10th edition chapter 7.

    4. Cucciniello B, Martellotta N, Nigro D, Citro E. (1993): Conservative management of extradural haematomas. Acta Neurochir(Wien);120(1-2):47 -52 16.





dr osabutey

Dr. Casmiel K. Osabutey
Senior Lecturer
School of Medical Sciences
College of Health Sciences, KNUST
Kumasi, Ghana

Proof Reader


Mr. David V.K. Arkorful
Pharmacy Library

Cinematography, Editing and Graphics


Daniel V. Nartey

OER Technical Support


Benjamin Prempeh
OER Media Specialist
KNUST, Kumasi - Ghana


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