Introduction to Forensic Pathology This is a Forensic Pathologists' collection of images and descriptions. Collection of blood from the femoral region (groin) is the preferred site for postmortem toxicology testing. The classic “Y-shaped” incision used during the performance of an autopsy The skin and underlying subcutaneous tissues are reflected, thus exposing the anterior (front) chest wall, as well as the opened abdominal (peritoneal) cavity. The liver, stomach, and intestines are visible. A bone saw is used to cut the front of the chest plate off of the chest wall. The anterior chest plate is removed, exposing the pleural cavities (containing the lungs) and the front of the pericardial sac. The small intestines may be removed in one large block by cutting the base of the mesentery at the,posterior (back) of the abdominal cavity Alternatively, the small intestines may be removed by cutting the mesentery attachment immediately adjacent to the entire small intestine length. Removal in this fashion allows the intestine to be more easily opened and examined internally. The lungs are pulled forward and removed by cutting the mainstem bronchi and the pulmonary arteries and veins. In this photo, the left lung is being removed. The heart is pulled forward (upward) and removed by cutting the inferior vena cava, the pulmonary veins, the pulmonary artery and aorta, and the superior vena cava. The liver must be cut away from the diaphragm, as well as the inferior vena cava and biliary system in order to remove it from the body. The spleen is reflected forward and cut away from the region near the tail of the pancreas. Examination of the removed heart includes serially sectioning the major coronary arteries which are embedded in the epicardial fat. This photo shows the anterior (front) of the heart, after these serial cuts have been made. A photo showing a section through the epicardial fat with a coronary artery. Examination of the lung includes serially-sectioning the organ. Examination of the kidney involves cutting the organ in half longitudinally. After the trunk organs and diaphragm have been removed, the trunk appears to be one large cavity. The initial step required for brain removal includes making an incision from behind one ear, across the top of the scalp, to behind the opposite ear.