Alcor at Work Photo Gallery:
Procedures

Other photo gallery pages: Field Equipment | Facility Equipment
See also: Video Tour of Alcor Facility

 
The operating room at Alcor's Scottsdale, Arizona, facility.
 
 
The operating room becomes very busy during a cryonics case. As many as a dozen technicians and support staff can be required. Procedures are performed by physician or veterinary surgeons with extensive cryonics experience, and technicians with knowledge of the process of cryoprotectant perfusion.
 
 
Contract surgeons work to gain access to major blood vessels. At this point, the patient is typically at a temperature of 60°F or lower. This permits blood circulation to be stopped for a limited time without harming the brain. Sterile technique is utilized.
 
 
Once vascular access is established, the patient will be connected to a perfusion machine that replaces blood with a chemical solution that prevents ice formation.
 
 
A technician prepares the cryoprotectant solution perfusion circuit. The wires behind the plastic tubing are used for electronic monitoring and data collection.
 
 
A bank of heart-lung machine roller pumps (below) circulate cryoprotectant solution into the patient in gradually increasing concentration. A computer system (above) monitors and collects temperature, pressure, and cryoprotectant concentration data during this four hour procedure.
 
 
A technician checks lines connected to electronic devices that measure cryoprotectant concentration (refractometers).
 
 
A final manual check of the refractive index of the cryoprotectant solution verifies that the concentration is sufficient for vitrification (deep cooling without freezing).
 
 
The patient is now transferred from the operating room to the cooldown facility, where cooling to -130°C takes place under computer control. The result of this process is "vitrification" (solidification without freezing).
 
 
Following vitrification, neuropatients are placed in individual aluminum containers.
 

 

Containers are finally immersed in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196°C for long-term care.

 

For more information see Alcor Procedures