Beneficial Aspect of Cadaver Dissection – Medical Students Perspective

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The aim of the study was to assess the beneficial aspect of cadaver dissection in the process of learning anatomy. The objectives of the study were: to determine medical students’ perspectives regarding if and how cadaver dissection was beneficial, and to determine the degree of respect toward the donors.

An anonymous survey was completed by 103 first-year medical students (42 female; 61 male) at WSU at the end of the anatomy course (involving complete cadaver dissection). Ninety five percent of the students found the dissection to be beneficial. They listed as the most valuable aspects of doing dissection: seeing 3D orientation of anatomical structures (53%), helping with assigned material (40%), and understanding relationships in the human body (21%). All students (100%) declared appropriate respect and appreciation for the donors, although less than half (48% male; 34% female) would consider donating their own body. Medical students themselves were generally in favor of organs donations - 90% male and 74% female. Ninety-five percent of students disagreed with the idea of completely replacing cadaver dissection with computer-assisted program.

These results suggest that medical students regard cadaver dissection as an effective time learning experience, which reinforces lecture and textbook material and provides a better understanding of the complicated relationships in the human body.


Presented at the 2012 Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Science Research Conference, San Diego, CA.

Presentation Number 531.17.

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