An autopsy (post-mortem examination, obduction, necropsy, or autopsia cadaverum) is a highly specialized surgical procedure that consists of a thorough examination of a corpse by dissection to determine the cause and manner of death or to evaluate any disease or injury that may be present for research or educational purposes. It is usually performed by a specialized medical doctor called a pathologist. In most cases, a medical examiner or coroner can determine cause of death and only a small portion of deaths require an autopsy. Autopsies are performed for either legal or medical purposes. For example, a forensic autopsy is carried out when the cause of death may be a criminal matter, while a clinical or academic autopsy is performed to find the medical cause of death and is used in cases of unknown or uncertain death, or for research purposes. Autopsies can be further classified into cases where external examination suffices, and those where the body is dissected and internal examination is conducted. Permission from next of kin may be required for internal autopsy in some cases. Once an internal autopsy is complete the body is reconstituted by sewing it back together.
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