A preservation technique created by professor Gunther von Hagens for human and animal bodies. Originally developed for medical and anatomical education purposes. Invented in 1978 at the Institute for anatomy at Heidelberg University. The special process allows for great rigidity or flexibility in the displaying of the specimens. The process gives a hard-wearing, durable, and lifelike state to the specimen. Plastinated organs and body slices are an effective teaching aid for cross-sectional anatomy.
The technique involves replacing bodily fluids and fat with reactive polymers, such as silicone rubber and epoxy resins. The specimen is first placed in a solvent that gradually replaces bodily fluids in a cold solvent bath. After this dehydration the specimen is put in a solvent bath at room temperature for defatting. The dehydrated and defatted specimen is then placed into a polymer solution. This is boiled in a vacuum, which leads to the solvent gradually evaporating. This causes a volume deficit and the polymer is drawn into the tissue to replace the evaporating solvent.
The professor has created an exhibition of bodies using this technique called Korperwelten.