Brain Autopsy Resources (when a brain donation is not possible)

Brain donation is the ideal way to obtain a confirmed diagnosis while also enabling research into neurological conditions.  Brain Support Network has helped over 1,400 families thus far accomplish brain donation.

Every week (usually on Monday mornings), we receive inquiries from families where the family member has passed away well beyond the brain recovery deadline (of 24 hours).  Sometimes a brain bank has reneged on acceptance of a brain donation case! We often receive inquiries from families with a neurological diagnosis that brain banks will not accept, such as typical, late-onset Alzheimer’s Disease or late-onset non-specific dementia.

In these cases, a brain autopsy is the only option available to families.  A brain autopsy can occur several days after death.  And a brain autopsy provides for a confirmed diagnosis, assuming that a neuropathologist is doing the work, rather than a general pathologist.  In a brain autopsy, the brain is destroyed after it is analyzed.  Therefore, the brain is NOT utilized for research purposes.

You have likely been directed to this page as the most efficient way to provide you the information required to pursue brain autopsy for a confirmed diagnosis.

There are several ways to arrange a brain autopsy. Regardless of the option, when making arrangements, we suggest you ask:

  • if a neuropathologist is conducting the analysis,
  • how long it will take to obtain a report,
  • is there an opportunity to follow up with the neuropathologist and ask questions after receiving the report.

Your options are as follows:  

1. Your first option should ALWAYS be to ask the funeral home or cremation organization you are using for final arrangements if they know a local pathologist or pathology service to do the autopsy for you.

2. Contact the “autopsy service” of the university medical center where your family member was seen (even in an ER setting), to learn if the autopsy service will provide the brain autopsy at no charge to your family.  During the covid-19 pandemic, not all university medical centers are providing this service but it is worth asking. The funeral home or cremation organization you plan to use may have contact information for the medical center’s “autopsy service.”

A funeral home or cremation organization charges families a fee (often $200 to $500) for transporting a family member to the medical facility and back to the funeral home or cremation organization.

3. Hire a pathology service to do a brain autopsy.  See our list below of companies providing neuropathology services.  The average fee for a brain autopsy is $2,500-$5,500 (depending on region of the U.S.).  There may be additional charges for brain recovery and shipping (usually $800-$1,500).

We encourage you to contact more than one of the pathology services on this list.  You need not be limited by geography as the pathology service will arrange for the brain removal and ship the tissue to the service conducting the autopsy.

Do a web search of “forensic pathology services near me” to find more than those on this list.  

4. Contact the neuropathology department of the medical school nearest you.  The neuropathology fellowship program may agree to do the brain analysis as a training opportunity for students.  There will likely be some cost to your family.


Autopsy Experts of America

Lisa Slagter
Based in LaQuinta, CA

Phone: 800-343-2135 (nonurgent)
Cell: 858-699-5919 (accepts texts)
Email: [email protected]

Services: Neuropathology analysis by private or academic neuropathologist.  Ancillary DNA/genetic analyses on a case by case basis.

Fee depends on special needs of each family. 


Autopsy Post Services

La Crescenta, CA (covers Southern California)

Phone: 818-957-2178
Toll Free: 1-800-AUTOPSY
Email: [email protected]

Services: Postmorten neurological diagnosis/brain-only autopsy. Tissue is sent to a forensic pathology service for analysis.


Bennet Omalu Pathology

Bennet Omalu, MD (neuropathologist)
Based in Stockton, CA (covers the US)

Office Assistant: 209-636-2822
Cell Phone: 916-513-5253
Fax: 866-402-6875
Email: [email protected]

Fee depends on case type and prevailing forensic scenario.


EPIARX Diagnostics

Nemanja Rodic, MD PhD (pathologist)
Based in Washington, DC (covers the US)

Business: 202-795-7109
Email: [email protected]

Services: Neuropathology analysis by academic neuropathologist.  Ancillary DNA/genetic analyses available.

Fee depends on case type and medical information. Initial consultation fee ($95) applies towards autopsy fee.


Granite State Pathology

Tom LeFoley, PA (pathologists’ assistant)
Based in Dover, NH (covers the US)

Phone: 603-285-1025
Email: [email protected]

Fee depends on case type and prevailing forensic scenario.


Illume Pathology

Based in Northern California (covers the US)

Phone: 877-232-9168 (accepts texts)
Email: [email protected]

$2,400 neuropathology analysis (genetic testing is additional) performed by university-based pathologists
$3,800 if Illume Pathology does the brain removal (travel expenses may be additional)

Families report that this organization doesn’t always respond to inquiries.


Michigan Institute of Forensic Science & Medicine

Based in Saginaw, MI (covers the US)

Phone: 989-341-5077
Email: [email protected]

$3,500 neuropathology analysis performed by experienced general or forensic pathologists


SC Forensic Pathology

Shane Chittenden, MD (pathologist)
Based in Aldie, VA (covers the US)

Phone: 571-225-0189
Email: [email protected]

$3,000 neuropathology analysis completed by the forensic pathology fellowship program at a major university medical school


Sunshine Private Autopsy Services

Boca Raton, FL (Serves the Miami area)

Email: [email protected]

Services: Neuropathology analysis by academic neuropathologist.  Ancillary DNA/genetic analyses available.

None if brain tissue is donated to one of several academic institutions for research.



Based in New York, NY (covers the US)

Business: 800-681-4338
Email:  [email protected]

Services: Families must hire a local pathology specialist or service to remove the brain, prepare the tissue, and ship it to Therapath.