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 consists of Drs. C. Dirk Keene and Desiree A. Marshall, whose combined expertise includes neurodegeneration, neuro-oncology, epilepsy and other non-neoplastic neuropathology.    

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 $1500 for standard exam including diagnosis of common neurodegenerative diseases (most cases are anticipated to fall within this category) and $3000 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 Aimee Schantz, M.Ed. (206.897.6566, UWNP@UW.EDU) of the Keene Research Lab.

Brain donation for educational purposes (UW medical students)

Contact UW Willed Body Program at 206.543.1860 to learn more.