Dissection is a crucial part of the learning process for students in any aspect of the medical field. It allows student’s to practice surgical procedures and to understand the machinations of the body in ways they never would have by simply observing live patients. However, dissections are a difficult and arduous processes, and one slip of the knife can ruin a sample cadaver and make a lesson extremely difficult.
The University of Central Florida recently acquired a new tool for its Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program, which will make the dissection process easier and offer a wide variety of new options for students studying the human body.
It’s called the anatomage. It is made up of an 8-foot flat screen that responds to touch. It is extremely sensitive, allowing students to mimic the intricate motions of a scalpel cut on the human body. It uses images collected from real human cadavers to allow students to dissect 3-D images that can be modified and rotated in ways a real body cannot. The touch screen can also remove layers and zoom in on microscopic parts, allowing students to quickly access parts of the body that would otherwise have taken arduous hours of dissection to reach.
The Central Florida DPT program was already unique in that it had its own anatomy lab solely for DPT students use. The DPT program is one of the only nation wide with an anatomage, which students there will now have 24 hour access to.
The University of Central Florida does not intend to replace physical dissection with the anatomage. There are certain things that only cutting into an actual cadaver can teach, and if students cannot handle a cadaver they certainly should not be considered qualified to manage living breathing tissue.
However, the anatomage will allow students to practice and study the human body in ways they could not previously in preparation for their dissection. Alongside this, when a body part was damaged during dissection in the past, it became that much more difficult for students to study it. Now, students will be able to use the anatomage as a reference while working through their dissection, drastically improving their education experience.
As technology continues to grow and change, tools like the anatomage stand to make a radical impact on the way medical students are taught about the body. Students at the University of Central Florida are privileged to sit at the forefront of that, and continued success will hopefully lead to programs across the country making tools like the anatomage available to their students.