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In about 5 percent of autopsies, brains are removed, hung upside down in a large container of fixing solution for up to six weeks, and then dissected after they've hardened. Dissection of the brain can yield information about tumors, strokes or contusions that may have led to death.
The bodies are sometimes returned to the next-of-kin without the brains or other tissues. That material is discarded as medical waste.