Medical Gross Anatomy
Introduction to Gross Anatomy

The new first-year curriculum at the University of Michigan Medical School (UMMS) embraces interdisciplinary and system-based covering of basic medical sciences. Material is presented in a clinical context and supported by brief patient cases that illustrate application of principle concepts. Anatomy has been an essential component of medical education at the UMMS. Approaches to anatomy education include the acquisition of foundational knowledge through dissection, and the correlation of structure with function and clinical relevance. Current enhancements in anatomy curriculum at the UMMS include wider emphasis on clinical application; integration of imaging techniques and interpretation; more effective peer teaching; and the use of the enormous pool of electronic resources and plastniated specimens to facilitate understanding.

Teaching Plan:

  1. There are 33 anatomy sessions within the 8 major sequences of the first year medical curriculum. Each anatomy session starts with a brief introductory lecture outlining the dissection plan and the major clinical application of that session. Lectures start at 1:00 PM at the West Lecture hall, and last for about 30 minutes.
  2. Prior to the lecture, students are expected to attempt the Pre Lab Assignments that include multiple-choice questions related to the dissection plan and the clinical relevance of each session. In addition, students are advised to review the online learning module related to that session, dissection images and videos that illustrate a comprehensible approach to the region.
  3. Other resources available while in the lab are: a computer by each table with full access to the anatomy web content; plastinated specimens; skeletons, and radiographs.
  4. Students are expected to dissect the relevant region and demonstrate all Review Items listed at the end of each session.
  5. Information concerning the medical histories of the body donors used in gross anatomy is available on a secure web site through the anatomy web. The cadaver you dissect is, in a sense, your first patient. You should use the medical histories database to locate cadavers that exhibit significant pathological findings, or surgical procedures. As you dissect your cadaver, you will be expected to enter notes of your observations, so that other students may become aware of any unusual exemplary anatomy that your cadaver holds.
  6. In addition, a whole body CT scan for selected cadavers is linked to the medical history on the anatomy web. CT datasets have been converted to QuickTime movies. Selected movies reveal evidence of interesting pathologies or surgeries and are linked to clinical case scenario. Students will have the opportunity to correlate dissection with the clinical findings on their cadaver.
  7. Peer Presentation/Evaluation: Six students, three working as Team 1 and the rest as Team 2 will carry out the dissection of a single cadaver. For three of the dissections all six students will work together.
    - When a team is assigned to any given dissection session (dissecting team), the other team (clinical team) will leave the lab and prepare for the related clinical case. They may use the Demo Lab, library, or small group rooms for that purpose.
    - Both teams should reconvene during the last 30 minutes of the session. The dissecting team will present the dissection findings guided by the list of Review Items in the lab manual. The other team will present the clinical case and relevance of that dissection.
    - Each student within a table group is expected to evaluate presentation quality of both teams. Evaluation could be done through the anatomy web link on the session’s day, preferably byFriday of the same week.
    - Feedback to students and faculty will be available on the web:
    - Peer presentations should be brief and complete.
    - Both groups may arrange for the presentation session any time after dissection is over.
  8. Students are advised to access the wide range of anatomy web resources. These are intended to reinforce learning and understanding.
  9. During each sequence, there will be a Friday Clinical Anatomy Review Seminar held at 1:00 PM at the WLH. Students are encouraged to attend and discuss clinical relevance of the week’s session with anatomy faculty.
  10. Students are expected to study the required textbook: Moore’s Clinically Oriented Anatomy, 6th edition.

Rules of the Gross Anatomy Lab

The white plastic table cover is provided to keep the tables and lab neat and orderly as well as to prevent dehydration. When dissecting or studying, remove only as much of the plastic cover as necessary. In your first lab session, use the sponge to wash away stains, blood, loosened epidermis and the remains of coagulated blood and embalming fluid. The blistered appearance of parts of some cadavers is the result of the epidermis being elevated due to the pressure of the embalming fluid. In some cadavers there may be rectangular areas where the skin has been removed, for skin grafts, etc. The head, hands, and feet are protected by plastic bags. Until we dissect these regions, leave the bags on to prevent desiccation. Additional plastic bags will be supplied for organs as these parts are removed in subsequent dissections. Please note that ALL bone removed during dissection must be placed in plastic bags which must remain on the dissection table (not in the tray below).

A set of tools is provided for each dissection group. They will be found in the tray below your table, at the head end. Please keep your tools clean and handle them with care. When not in use, keep them in the tray under the table, at the head end. Wooden blocks are provided as supports. Keep these under your table when not in use, at the foot/drain end.

At the completion of the each day's dissection, the following procedures should be carried out. Remove all non-bony tissue fragments and place them in the tan fiber bucket on the tray below the cadaver. Clean the table with the sponges provided with your table kit. Moisten dissected regions with Biostat as needed, completely cover the cadaver with the muslin sheet, and moisten the sheet with Biostat. Book stands should be placed on the tray beneath the table between the drain bucket and tissue bucket. The white table cover should then be replaced, taking care to cover the table completely. Instruments should be stored in the tray beneath the table, at the head end. Do not leave instruments on the table, as these present a safety concern. Sharp instruments may become lost beneath the cadaver, and may be encountered much later when the cadaver is being turned, with injury resulting. Care of your table and your cadaver stems from the reverence and respect our body donors deserve.

You may leave your lab coats on hangers in the laboratory when they are not in use. Have your coats cleaned regularly! Name tags will be provided - please attach them in a highly visible location so faculty can learn your names easily. This will also prevent loss of lab coats when left hanging in laboratories. The Netter's Atlas provided for your table should be kept in the small locker assigned to your table group, along with any personal items.

Dispose of all soft tissue removed from the cadaver (skin, fat, tissue fragments, etc.) in the tan fiber bucket under your dissecting table. Do not put paper, gloves, or other waste in these tissue buckets. All bone fragments, major parts, organs, and limbs are to be kept as a unit with the remains of the cadaver.

Dispose of gloves and paper waste in the large green or gray wastebaskets near the sinks. Do not put glass bottles or tin cans in these containers. They may cause serious injuries to the custodians. Used scalpel blades are to be removed with the ClickSmart blade removal devices by the sinks, or carefully removed by hand and placed in the sharps containers near the sinks. Band-aids are found at the sinks, and eyewash stations and emergency showers are located at the center sink in each room.

It is necessary to expose only those areas of the cadaver that are being dissected. This reduces dehydration from the air conditioning and maintains a cleaner and more orderly appearing laboratory. The above procedures should maintain the proper moisture level of the cadaver. If the cadaver shows signs of dehydration, moisten the cadaver with Biostat found in plastic jugs at the sinks. You will be dissecting this cadaver for the whole term and proper care must be taken if it is to be useful for study for the whole term. It is especially important to maintain those parts of the body that are not currently being dissected, as you will come back to them later. Occasionally mold may form on a cadaver, usually in an area previously dissected. If you detect any mold, inform Dr. Gest so that it may be treated.

Computers: There are 32 computers located within the gross anatomy laboratories. There are 9-10 computers per room, or 1 computer for every lab table. Please share this equipment. Do not handle the keyboard or mouse with dirty hands. Do not unplug or move the computers. Please report any malfunctions or difficulties with the computers to faculty.

Click here to learn more about the medical histories project.

Demonstration Specimens: Bones and permanently preserved "plastinated organs" (organs impregnated with silicone) are located on shelves within the gross labs and on the demonstration tables in the center of each lab. Please handle these specimens with care and with clean hands only. They should be used only on the clean tables located in the center of the rooms. When you are finished studying them, return them to the appropriate shelf. Bones are fragile. Do not handle them carelessly or drop them. Be especially careful with skulls. Handle the articulated skeletons with care. They, too, are fragile and though they move freely, they should not be forced.

The laboratories are always available to you. You have the privilege of dissecting during unscheduled laboratory periods and should maintain the specimens and equipment in the laboratories. The code access numbers are for students only - keep the code confidential.

The laboratories are for students and those individuals legitimately in the medical field. Your parents or other relatives may wish to see the laboratory, and may do so with the approval of Dr. Raoof early in the course; however, they are closed to all other individuals.





Anatomy Awards

To recognize the table whose students conduct themselves in an exemplary fashion, an award is presented at the end of the year. This is the highly coveted, prestigious Woodburne and Burkel Outstanding Anatomy Students Award. This award is given to the table that demonstrates superior dissection skills, excellent care for the cadaver, and consistent recording of Dissection Notes in the Medical Histories database, throughout the year.

The table that consistently demonstrates superior peer presentations will be given the Triple P or the Premiere Peer Presenter Award.