Preserving the bodies To keep the specimens in top condition without decaying, they go through a method known as polymer preservation, in which all of the tissue and water is replaced with silicone rubber. First, each specimen must be preserved to stop decay. Next, it’s dissected to feature specific parts of the body. Once dissected, the specimen is immersed in acetone. This process removes all body water. After the acetone process, the specimen is placed in a silicone polymer bath and sealed in a vacuum chamber. During this stage, the acetone leaves the body in the form of gas and the silicone polymer replaces it, entering each cell and body tissue. A catalyst is then applied to the specimen, which hardens it and completes the process. Experts are available at the exhibit for guests who have further questions. With a name like Bodies in Las Vegas, it’s easy to assume you’re going to a topless show.
But Bodies…The Exhibition at the Luxor is even more revealing. Bodies will easily trump any science lab dissection you’ve done in school. With an intricate, 3-D vision of the human form, visitors get the chance to see real bodies, preserved along with their inner organs. The exhibit showcases 13 whole-body specimens from China and more than 260 organs and partial body specimens. There are multiple rooms dedicated to different parts of the body, including the muscular, skeletal, circulatory and respiratory systems. There is also a more sensitive section of the exhibition showing fetal development. Guests can see different stages of a baby’s development, from eight weeks old to eight months, as well as fetuses with various birth defects, such as conjoined twins. This exhibit is located in its own private area, so those who feel uncomfortable viewing it can skip to the next section. It is both startling and informative to see so many body parts and inner organs out in the open when they are usually tucked safely away under your skin. One wouldn’t expect such an intricate part of the nervous system, like the spinal cord, to resemble a clump of seaweed.The tongue, meanwhile, looks a bit like a small, thick cut of steak (Would you like that medium-rare or well-done?).
One of the more startling sights in the exhibit is the display of a smoker’s lung in the respiratory section. Visitors can see and compare a healthy lung to a blackened smoker’s lung. There is also a brain on display here from a person who suffered a stroke — ironically it looks a bit like the inside of an ashtray. After reading some scary, mind-opening facts (like a single pack of cigarettes takes four hours and 40 minutes off your life), you may think twice about puffing. For the guests’ convenience, there is a cigarette disposal bin nearby. Bodies also offers enrichment that helps visitors improve their quality of life and prevent diseases.
Reading the quick facts on the wall is almost as interesting as checking out the specimens. For instance, did you know eating breakfast really does help improve your memory? There are plenty of benches scattered throughout the facility for guests who want to sit down and take a break. For those who want an in-depth description about particular displays, audio wands are available for $5. Expert docents can also answer questions. Visitors are encouraged to write their impressions of Bodies in one of several guest books at the end of the exhibition. As for those who want to take a little piece of Bodies home with them, the gift shop features some a collection of books, incense holders, models, key chains, souvenirs and educational doodads for kids.