Autopsy - Definition

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An autopsy encompasses all of the medical exams that are performed on a cadaver to determine the cause, or causes, of death. Also called a post-mortem exam or necropsy, autopsy is only performed if there are doubts as to the cause of death, or if someone close to the deceased requests it. During the autopsy, the thorax is opened, the viscera and the brain are examined, all the organs are then replaced, the skin is sewn shut, and samples of liquids or tissues are taken. Students of medicine are able to study anatomy through performing autopsies.