International Journal of Anatomy and Research

Welcome to International Journal of Anatomy and Research




Type of Article: Review

Year: 2015 | Volume 3 | Issue 4 | Page No. 1559-1567

Date of Publication: 30-11-2015



Subhra Mandal *1, Amrita Gupta 2, Manjari Chatterjee 3, Prabir Mandal 4.

*1 Associate Professor, Dept. of Anatomy, Medical College, Kolkata , West Bengal, India.

2 Assistant Professor, Dept. of Anatomy, Medical College , Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

3 Professor & Head, Dept of Anatomy, Medical College, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

4 Post Graduate Resident in DNB ( Physical Medicine), Dr. BN Bose SD Hospital , Kolkata , West Bengal, India.

Address: Dr.(Mrs) Subhra Mandal , MD (Anatomy), Associate Professor, Medical College Kolkata, West Bengal, India. Contact No.: +919477458100.


Anatomy and dissection have long been considered a cornerstone in medical education, irrespective of nation, racial background or medical school. By learning gross anatomy, medical students get a first “impression” about the structure of human body which is the basis for understanding pathologic and clinical problems. Anatomy teaching methodology has been revolutionized in the 2Ist century, due to time constraints, less availability of cadavers, stress on computer aided learning, scarcity of qualified teachers, changes in the demands of medical profession and neglect of vertical integration of anatomy teaching. Until recently, dissection and didactic lectures were its sole pedagogy, worldwide. But over the  last few decades, traditional anatomy teaching based on topographical structural anatomy taught in lectures and gross dissection classes has been replaced by a vivid range of study modules like problem based learning(PBL) and computer assisted learning(CAL),and curricula integration. Though the anatomy curriculum is undergoing international reformation but it lacks uniformity among institutions. The available modern international literature, describing various methodologies for teaching/learning anatomy conclude that Anatomists are constantly debating over the following questions-How much to teach, when to teach and how to teach gross anatomy. We endeavor to answer these questions and contribute to the debate on the ideal methodology for teaching /learning anatomy. Alternative strategies and resources are also discussed so that we can re establish more effective teaching /learning tools while maintaining the beneficial values of orthodox dissection .If we are not concentrating on optimum anatomy education, it will inevitably lead to incompetent anatomists and healthcare professionals, leaving patients to face unwanted consequences of medical error.
KEY WORDS: Dissection, gross anatomy, Problem based learning (PBL), Computer assisted learning (CAL), curriculum.


  1. Sinclair D. A student’s guide to anatomy. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1961.
  2. Turney BW. 2007. Anatomy in a modern medical curriculum. Ann R Coll Surg Engl 89(2):104-107.
  3. H.V. Staden, Herophilus- The Art of Medicine in Early Alexandria, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, Mass< USA, 2004.
  4. A. Vesalius, De Humani Corporis Eabrica, J. Oporinus, Basel, Switzerland, 1543.
  5. Guttmann GD, Drake RL, Trelease RB. To what extent is cadaver dissection necessary to learn medical gross anatomy? A debate forum. Anat Rec. 2004;281B:2–3.
  6. Rizzlo I.J. Human dissection: An approach to interweaving the traditional and humanistic goals of medical education.  Anat Rec. 2002;269(6):242-248.
  7. Dupin- Bryant PA. Teaching styles of interactive television instructors: a descriptive study. Am J Distance Education 2004;18:39-50.
  8. Brandes D. Ginnes P. A Guide to Student centered Learning Oxford: Brasil Blackwell,1986.
  9. Vision 2015. Document of MCI,
  10. Moxham BJ, Plaisant O. Perception of medical students towards the clinical relevance of anatomy. Clin Anat. 2007;20:560–564.
  11. Pabst R, Nave H, Rothkotter HJ, Tschernig T. Evaluation of the medical curriculum: Why, when, by whom and for whom should questionnaires be used. Eur J Morphol. 2001;39:237–239.
  12. Dhingra R, Taranikanti V, Kumar R. 2006. Plastination: Teaching aids in anatomy revisited. Natl Med J India. 2006;19:171.
  13. Memon IK. 2009. Anatomy education faces challenges in Pakistan. Anat Sci Educ 2009;2:193–194.
  14. McLachlan JC, Patten D. Anatomy teaching: Ghosts of the past, present and future. Med Educ 2006;40:243–253.
  15. Slotnick HB, Hilton SR. Proto-professionalism and the dissecting laboratory. Clin Anat 2006;19:429–436.
  16. Pawlina W, Lachman N. Dissection in learning and teaching gross anatomy: Rebuttal to McLachlan. Anat Rec 2004;281B:9–11.
  17. Nierenberg DW. The challenge of “teaching” large groups of learners: strategies to increase active participation and learning. Int J Psychiatry Med 1998;28:115-22.
  18. Bartsch RA, Cobern KM. Effectiveness of Power Point presentations in lectures. Comput Educ 2003;41:77-86.
  19. Mayer RE, Anderson RB. The instructive animation: helping students build connections between words and pictures in multimedia learning. J Educ Psychol 1992;84:444-52.
  20. Alexander CJ, Crescini WM, Juskewitch JE, Lachman N, Pawlina W. Assessing the integration of audience response system technology in teaching of anatomical sciences. Anat Sci Educ. 2009;2:160–166.
  21. Lachman N, Pawlina W. Integrating professionalism in early medicaleducation: The theory and application of reflective practice in the anatomy curriculum. Clin Anat. 2006;19:456–460.
  22. Lempp HK. Perceptions of dissection by students in one medical school: Beyond learning about anatomy. A qualitative study. Med Educ. 2005;39:318–325.
  23. G. Von Hagens, K. Tiedemann, and W. Kriz. The current potential of plastination. Anatomy and Embryology, 1987;175(4):411–421.
  24. W. Thiel. The preservation of the whole corpse with natural color. Annals of Anatomy. 1992;174:185–195.
  25. Amadio PC. Reaffirming the importance of dissection. Clin Anat 1996;9:136-7.
  26. Moore NA. To dissect or not to dissect? Anat Rec 1998;253:8-9.
  27. Kapil S, Peter A, Ashish K. The Anatomy of Anatomy: a review for its modernization. Anatomical Sciences Education. Volume 3, Issue 2.
  28. Visharm S, Poonam K, A paradigm shift from teaching to learning gross anatomy: meta-analysis of implications for instructional methods. Journal of the Anatomical Society of India 2013;62:84-89.
  29. McNulty JA, Sonntag B, Sinacore JM. Evaluation of computer-aided instruction in a gross anatomy course: A six-year study. Anat Sci Educ. 2013;2:2–8.
  30. Nowinski WL, Thirunavuukarasuu A, Ananthasubramaniam A, Chua BC, Qian G, Nowinska NG, Marchenko Y, Volkau I. Automatic testing and assessment of neuroanatomy using a digital brain atlas: Method and development of computer- and mobile-based applications. Anat Sci Educ. 2009;2:244–252.
  31. Moorman SJ. Prof-in-a-box: Using internet–videoconferencing to assist students in the gross anatomy laboratory. BMC Med Educ.2006;6:55.
  32. Chowdhury R, Wilson ID, Oeppen RS. The departments of radiology and anatomy: New symbiotic relations? Clin Radiol. 2008;63:918–920.
  33. Parker LM. Anatomical dissection: Why are we cutting it out? Dissection in undergraduate teaching. ANZ J Surg. 2002;72:910–912.
  34. Durosaro O, Lachman N, Pawlina W. Use of knowledge-sharing web-based portal in gross and microscopic anatomy. Ann Acad Med Singapore. 2008;37:998–1001.
  35. Yiou R, Goodenough D. Applying problem-based learning to the teaching of anatomy: The example of Harvard Medical School. Surg Radiol Anat. 2006;28:189–194.
  36. Chan LK, Ganguly PK. Evaluation of small-group teaching in human gross anatomy in a Caribbean medical school. Anat Sci Educ. 2008;1:19–22.
  37. Nayak S,Ramnarayan K, Somayajit N, et al. Teaching anatomy in a problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum. Neuroanatomy 2006;5:2-3.
  38. Krych AJ, March CN, Bryan RE, Peake BJ, Pawlina W, Carmichael SW. Reciprocal peer teaching: Students teaching students in the gross anatomy laboratory. Clin Anat. 2005;18:296–301.
  39. Sharadkumar PS et al. Small Group Teaching in Anatomy. International Journal of Reacherch and reviews in Pharmacy and Applied Sciences (IJRRPAS 2015;5(1):1189-92.
  40. Snigdha Mishra, Satheesha Nayak B. & Bincy M. George, Impact Of A Novel Method Of Teaching Anatomy Of The Male Perineum On The Undergraduate Medical Student, Nitte University Journal of Health Science, NUJHS 2014;4(1).
  41. Kawashiro Y, Anahara R, Kohno T, Mori C, Matsuno Y. Attitudes of healthcare students on gross anatomy laboratory sessions. Anat Sci Educ. 2009;2:273–279.
  42. Tschernig T, Schlaud M, Pabst R. Emotional reactions of medical students to dissecting human bodies: A conceptual approach and its evaluation. Anat Rec. 2000;261:11–13.
  43. Warner JH, Rizzolo LJ. 2006. Anatomical instruction and training for professionalism from the 19th to the 21st centuries. Clin Anat. 2006;19:403–414.
  44. Rizzolo LJ. Human dissection: An approach to interweaving the traditional and humanistic goals of medical education. Anat Rec 2002;269:242–248.
  45. Pawlina W. 2006. Professionalism and anatomy: How do these two terms define our role? Clin Anat. 2006;19:391–392.
  46. Chen LP, Gregory JK, Camp CL, Juskewitch JE, Pawlina W, Lachman N. Learning to lead: Self- and peer-evaluation of team leaders in the human structure didactic block. Anat Sci Educ. 2009;2:210–217.
  47. Fraher JP, Evans DJ. Training tomorrow’s anatomists today: A partnership approach. Anat Sci Educ. 2009;2:119–125.
  48. Choudhury B, Gouldsborough I, Gabriel S. Use of interactive sessions and e-learning in teaching anatomy to first-year optometry students. Anat Sci Educ. 2009;3:39–45.


Subhra Mandal, Amrita Gupta, Manjari Chatterjee, Prabir Mandal. BODIES DO MATTER: RETHINKING ANATOMICAL PEDAGOGY, FROM THE SCALPEL TO THE MOUSE: A REVIEW. Int J Anat Res 2015;3(4):1559-1567. DOI: 10.16965/ijar.2015.280




Volume 1 (2013)

Volume 2 (2014)

Volume 3 (2015)

Submit Manuscript