Scanning Microscopy


The aims of this review are: 1. to provide a bibliography of the publications that have used the corrosion casting technique; 2. to describe the advantages and limitations of the methodology; 3. to illustrate possible applications in the field of medicine, and 4. to highlight the significance of this method in the teaching of medical students. Thus, this paper is primarily focused on the scanning electron microscopical examination of vascular corrosion casts.

The unsurpassed three-dimensionality of the corrosion casting technique compared to any other means stands out in particular. This can be especially useful when complex vascular-anatomical relationships are present. This applies not only to the portrayal of the modes of branching and varying vascular densities but also to regulatory arrangements, such as sphincters and arteriovenous anastomoses.

Between 1966 and 1990, a total of 549 publications were found in the Medline literature data bank, containing the key words "corrosion casting", "microvascular cast", or "vascular cast" (as of August, 1990). Of those publications, most dealt with applications to experimental animals. By contrast, only 142 reports were mainly or partially concerned with human investigational material.

The normal vascular system of nearly all organs, insofar as this is of direct medical relevance, has been largely resolved. In our opinion, one of the most important potential applications of the corrosion casting technique lies in the investigation of gastrointestinal, renal or hepatic ailments, which coincide with the reconstruction or rarefication of the vascular bed, e.g., in ulcers, ileitis terminalis, colitis ulcerosa, cirrhosis or glomerulonephritis.

Included in

Biology Commons