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Getting a brain out intact

How to remove a whole intact brain using a longitudinal craniotomy

This is one method of removing the brain without damaging it. We’re told that with practice the brain can be removed in less than one minute.

Longitudinal craniotomy involves splitting the skull (but not the brain) dorsally and ventrally along its longitudinal axis with an axe.

The axe is hit with a small mallet for greater control and safety. To expose the hard palate and ventral cranium, the mandibular symphysis is split and the tongue and soft tissues of the throat are removed before the axe is used to split the ventral skull.

The two halves can be levered open from the front to expose the intact brain.

The procedure can be performed quickly, simply and safely under field conditions with minimal equipment: axe, mallet, boning knife, disposable rubber gloves and safety glasses. (The head does not need to be skinned.)

Longitudinal craniotomy on a sheep (Source: WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development)