Body donation at Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic's anatomical bequest program in Rochester, Minn., accepts whole-body donations for the purposes of medical education, research and surgical training, and the development and testing of new surgical devices and techniques.

Anatomy is the study of the structure and function of the human body. It is one of the most important courses in the education of doctors, physical therapists and many other health care professionals. The study of anatomy comes early in the medical curriculum and serves as the foundation for other courses. Further, doctors in residency training and those in practice often pursue special courses in anatomy to enhance their skills and learn new techniques. Body donation plays a critical role in helping medical and health-related science students master the complex anatomy of the human body and provides researchers with an essential tool for discoveries to help patients.

In addition to being used for teaching, bodies donated to Mayo Clinic's program are used by researchers in developing new surgical procedures, such as:

  • New arthroscopic surgeries
  • Knee, ankle and shoulder joint surgery
  • Plastic surgery procedures including flap reconstruction for cancer and trauma patients
  • Surgical approaches to various internal organs

At the rate medical science is advancing, doctors and other biomedical scientists must increasingly conduct special anatomical studies and research.

Anatomical donations are greatly appreciated and each contributes directly to new understandings. The need is great, and each gift is valued and honored. Mayo Clinic students and staff treat each donation with the utmost respect and dignity.

Contact us

For questions or information about whole-body donation, contact Mayo Clinic's Department of Anatomy at 507-284-2693. You may also request an information packet using our online form. Mayo staff members are available to answer any questions and can send an information packet explaining the anatomical bequest program.

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