Hydrogen peroxide & Neurosurgery


on the September 6, 2018

Published in World Neurosurg.

Collaborative research project led by Prof. Stéphane Velut.

Hydrogen peroxide head preparation: enabling cuttings and anatomical studies of the skull base dura mater and arachnoid without the use of drilling


Anatomical pieces that are preserved using formaldehyde allow us to undertake high-quality skull base studies. However, extensive drilling is often necessary, which can lead to damages to the dura mater and thus arachnoid. Formaldehyde and hydrogen peroxide can soften the bone which in turn, can be easily cut with a scalpel or removed with a curette. After having discovered this technique by chance, our aim was to establish a study protocol of the skull base dura mater without the use of the drill. 10 heads were set with a 10% formalin solution then injected with colored latex. 5 were then subsequently bleached with 20% hydrogen peroxide solution (HPS). (1) Macroscopic modification of the bone, dura mater, arachnoid and brain; (2) Histological study; (3) CT scans and (4) calcium concentration screenings were studied weekly. After several weeks (mean 6.1, range 5-8 weeks) all HPS specimens were flexible, similar to rubber in consistence. Geometrical bone cuts could be made while preserving all the surrounding anatomical structure (cranial nerves, dura mater and vascular elements). Histologically, the dural and bone structure are preserved. The HPS cadavers appear to be radiologically demineralized. We note a significant calcium concentration augmentation in HPS solution after 1-months, 6-weeks and 2 months compared to Day-0. The softening of the bone, probably caused by decalcification from the use of corrosive chemicals present in hydrogen peroxide solution, can ease the cutting of the skull base geometrically, which is useful for anatomical and workshop studies.


Hydrogen Peroxide, Head embalming, Neuroanatomy, Histology, Skull base.

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Prof. Stéphane Velut :