Is cadaveric dissection vital in anatomy education? Perceptions of 1st and 2nd year medical students
Introduction: The use of innovative ways of teaching anatomy as well as shortage of cadavers for dissection have raised questions as to whether dissection should continue to be used in teaching anatomy. This study aimed to assess the views of medical and dental students on the importance of dissection in learning gross anatomy, and whether they would prefer other ways of learning anatomy instead of cadaveric dissection.
Materials and Methods: First‑ and second‑year students enrolled at the University of Nairobi (Kenya) were asked to fill an online questionnaire. Data gathered were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences.
Results: Ninety‑eight (83 medical and 15 dental) students participated in the study. All students agreed dissection was useful in learning anatomy. Up to 95.2% of medical and 86.7% of dental students favored dissection. Most students strongly agreed or agreed that dissection helped them to develop three‑dimensional (3D) awareness of the human body (94.9%), work as a team (89.8%), learn medical terminology (85.7%), and learn how to use basic surgical instruments (80.6%). Dissection was preferred to use of 3D models, prosected specimens, computer‑aided learning techniques, or modern imaging techniques by 63.3%, 60.3%, 37.7%, and 34.4% of the students, respectively.
Conclusion: Dissection is an important resource for learning anatomy. Other teaching techniques should be used to supplement dissection rather than replace it.
Keywords: Anatomy, cadaveric dissection, medical students