Brain Autopsy (Neuropathology Autopsy)

In addition to providing neuropathology examinations for the robust UW Medicine hospital autopsy program, UW Neuropathology performs brain (with and without spinal cord) autopsy consultations for postmortem characterization of various neurologic diseases. The neuropathology autopsy service includes Drs. Kathryn Scherpelz and Robert Mrak, who have expertise in a broad range of neuropathological conditions, including neurodegenerative disease, cerebrovascular disease, cerebral trauma, infectious diseases, neuro-oncology and other neurological diseases. 

How to arrange a brain autopsy

  • Private brain autopsy cases are accepted on a case-by-case basis, at the request of family members, physicians or researchers.  Consent from legal next-of-kin is required. To inquire, please call UW Autopsy & After Death Services at 206.598.4205, who will help determine if a brain autopsy consultation can be performed and assist with logistics.

  • Cost of a brain autopsy is not covered by insurance. Our service has a flat fee structure of $2000 for standard exam including diagnosis of common neurodegenerative diseases (most cases are anticipated to fall within this category) and $4000 for complex cases requiring more extensive testing and analysis (authorization will be obtained prior to initiating the higher fee testing). 

  • Brain autopsies are usually performed within several hours of the patient’s death. Please know that postmortem examination will not delay or complicate funeral, cremation or burial plans and that incisions are hidden and will not preclude an open casket funeral if desired.  

  • It is helpful to plan ahead when possible, including communication of desires for brain autopsy with other family members as well as treating physicians so that involved parties are prepared to move forward at the time of death.

​       NEUROPATHOLOGY SERVICE REQUEST FORM + Handling and Shipping Instructions

Brain donation for research 

For help in determining an option best for you, please contact UW BRaIN Lab (206.897.5453,

Brain donation for educational purposes (UW medical students)

Contact UW Willed Body Program at 206.543.1860 to learn more.