Medical University of South Carolina Hospital logo
Home |  Video Library | Podcast Library | e-Newsletters | Classes & Events | About Us | News Blog | University & Colleges 
Contact Us | 843-792-1414

Patients & Visitors

Medical Services

Maps & Parking

Health Library

Physician Portal


Online Services
Health Library
Health Topics A to Z
Clinical Trials & Research
Tests & Procedures
Lab Tests & Results
Health Assessment Tools
Symptom Checker
Health e-Newsletters
Podcast Library
Video Library
Health Library
Bookmark Page icon Bookmark |

Print this page icon


E-mail icon

Health Library : Pathology



What is an autopsy?

An autopsy is a medical examination of a body after death. Autopsies are done to determine cause of death or to verify diagnosis.

When is an autopsy performed?

There are two major types of autopsy:

  • Deaths that are unnatural or unexpected and unexplained can fall under the jurisdiction of the coroner or medical examiner. These are called medicolegal cases, and would include deaths that relate to public health concerns, such as a mysterious disease.
  • An autopsy is sometimes performed in a natural death where a particular question about a disease process or medical procedure is investigated. These types of autopsies may be requested by the family and/or physician, and must be authorized by the decedent's next-of-kin.

Who performs the autopsy?

Autopsies are performed by pathologists, who are licensed physicians. They may be authorized by the county coroner or the decedent's next-of-kin.

How is an autopsy performed?

Autopsy procedure begins with the general and ends with the specific:

  • First, a visual examination of the entire body is done, including the organs and internal structures.
  • Then, microscopic, chemical, and microbiological examinations may be made of the organs, tissues and fluids.
  • Organs removed for examination are weighed and examined. Pertinent tissues are further studied under the microscope.
  • A final report is made after all laboratory results are complete.

Click here to view the
Online Resources of Pathology

 Sources & References




 Tests & Procedures:
 »Bone Biopsy
 »Cervical Biopsy
 »Endometrial Biopsy
 » View All 11

About This Site   |   Disclaimer   |  Privacy   |   Accessibility   |   Donations   |   Site Map
171 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, SC 29403 1.843.792.1414 | © 2014 Medical University of South Carolina

mobile web site iconrss feed iconText Messaging iconPodcast Library