Cadavers in Medical Training

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    Cadaver Training Isn’t Just for Med School Anatomy Lessons

Cadaver Training Isn’t Just for Med School Anatomy Lessons

The medical and scientific communities have historically relied on human cadavers to enhance their understanding of anatomy. Nearly every medical student visits the cadaver lab at least once. The hands-on experience has been shown, through multiple studies and papers, to expand a student’s clinical knowledge in ways that nothing else can. More recently, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, various educational institutions have leaned more toward the use of virtual anatomy simulations and training than they had in the past. Attempting to replicate a more realistic experience, some teaching institutions have used plastic models. We can see this in its most basic form in paramedic courses. While there is a place for newer technologies in the study of anatomy, physiology, and clinical or surgical techniques, we believe that they are complementary to cadaver training rather than a substitute for that experience. This holds true for first responders and experienced physicians and nurses as much as it does for med students.

What the cadaveric component of learning provides is a visual and tactile experience with real human anatomy. Professionals who participate in cadaver training are also exposed to the inherent variabilities that exist in human morphology. Equally important, cadaver training courses and labs take the conceptual experience of patient care and transform it into real-life, hands-on experience.
Dissection Skills Involve More than Anatomical Knowledge
A strong and often surprising emotional and psychological response is perhaps the most prevalent reaction to cadaver lab training. The emotional, and sometimes physical, response to the exposure to human cadavers is often what a medical student will talk about first or most as they recall their time in the lab. While some of these experiences are reported in a negative light, the […]

February 14th, 2022|Cadavers in Medical Training|Comments Off on Cadaver Training Isn’t Just for Med School Anatomy Lessons|
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    Cadaver Lab Training for First Responders: Expanding the Capacity of Care

Cadaver Lab Training for First Responders: Expanding the Capacity of Care

The medical community has long believed in the value of human anatomy as an integral aspect of learning. The entire field of clinical medicine is based on hands-on care. As such, it should be conducted by professionals who are already experienced with human tissue when they set foot into the operating room or office. Likewise, first responders should also have this level of hands-on familiarity with human tissue beyond the memorization of location and biological function. According to studies, a lack of this anatomical knowledge can make it difficult to retain information related to patient care. Historically, medical institutions had required students to attend at least one cadaver lab to study anatomy. Over time, though, and across different clinical areas, including first responders, models shifted to plastic mannequins and virtual simulations. While we live in a high-tech world now, we respectfully argue that high-tech training is no substitute for authentic human tissue. Cadaver training provides students across all fields the visual and tactile experience they need to expand their capacity as clinicians.

Neither mannequins nor virtual simulations can replicate human anatomy. Numerous studies have found that healthcare professionals from surgeons to nurses to first responders demonstrate greater anatomical knowledge as a result of cadaver training. The cadaver lab extends textbook knowledge by translating it into a hands-on activity. We can only learn so much by watching and listening. We gain so much more by doing. In this way, cadaver training allows clinicians to fully integrate the techniques that they will be required to do in the field. In the area of emergency and field medicine, every minute counts. Full integration of clinical technologies and procedures can expedite the delivery of appropriate care and, at the […]

January 15th, 2022|Cadavers in Medical Training|Comments Off on Cadaver Lab Training for First Responders: Expanding the Capacity of Care|
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    Cadaver Trainings Help Dentists Realize Their Dental Implant Potential

Cadaver Trainings Help Dentists Realize Their Dental Implant Potential

Dental implant training has become a more significant need in dentistry in recent years, as we have seen the rehabilitative and aesthetic benefits of this area of practice. Untrained dentists may offer dental implant treatment, but perform only the final aspect of care, seating the dental crown, bridge, or denture. We hear from an increasing number of dental professionals that they are ready to realize their dental implant potential and bring the totality of their implant services in-house. Proper training is critical to this end. Med Ed Labs has been proud to host live, hands-on cadaver training for dentists who aspire to expand not only their knowledge base but also their clinical capabilities. Now that our social-distancing issues have been addressed, we are seeing a return to in-person clinical trainings, and are excited to continue preparing and hosting live events in the area of dental implantology.

Dental implant courses equip dentists with experience via modalities such as lectures, live surgeries, and patient demonstrations. While technologies have expanded the capacity of dental professionals to virtually design smiles and create more predictable outcomes, there remains a vital role for real-life hands-on experiences that do not carry a high degree of patient risk in clinical training settings.  To manage these risks, standard one-day training sessions tend to involve hands-on exercises utilizing detailed resin or gum models that allow doctors to perform exercises in drilling, bone grafting, sinus lifts, suturing, and more. It is clear that hands-on practice builds confidence and provides professionals with the opportunity to develop and fine-tune their surgical techniques. Hands-on exercises can help to cement the knowledge gained from the lecture material but, relying only on resin models, they may fall short.

Dental implant courses can […]

December 15th, 2021|Cadavers in Medical Training|Comments Off on Cadaver Trainings Help Dentists Realize Their Dental Implant Potential|

Why We Do What We Do

The medical community has been well served by the study of human cadaver tissues for many years. As new technologies have emerged, however, so have ideas that “newer is better.” In some instances this may be true. When it comes to fully understanding the human body and the various ways in which human tissue may respond to treatments, we respectfully disagree. Med Ed Labs was established with the intent of bringing physicians, first responders, medical device developers, and other relevant personnel face to face with their target, the human body. 

They say that knowledge is power. For the appropriate professional, human cadaver training offers enlightenment in a multitude of areas. Our varied trainings and cadaver lab set-ups can achieve several objectives, such as:

Optimal placement of injectables or other techniques in actual human anatomy, not virtual simulation. 
Dimensional compatibility between human anatomy and new technologies. 
Accurate spatial relationships between a device and its accessories and anatomical structures

Cadaver Labs are High-Tech and High-Touch
Historically, cadaver labs were associated with medical training in the college environment. A stint in the cadaver lab was something medical students either really looked forward to or really did not. We see the value of cadaver training far beyond general anatomy and physiology teaching. Our learning environments are hands-on and focused on both general and specialized techniques and may include interventional supplies, surgical supplies, imaging equipment, and more. In this way, we can help improve development by removing the guesswork that has been typical to some medical training. For example, using a cadaver lab, a professional does not face:

Postural and anatomical differences between animal models and the human body. 
Inaccurate representations of physiological disease states as they occur in the human body […]

November 15th, 2021|Cadavers in Medical Training|Comments Off on Why We Do What We Do|
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    Medical Schools are Shifting to Post-Pandemic Visions: Is There a Place for Cadaver Training?

Medical Schools are Shifting to Post-Pandemic Visions: Is There a Place for Cadaver Training?

The novel coronavirus has placed strain on our medical system in ways we’ve never seen. But it hasn’t only been hospitals, urgent care clinics, and even how first-responders operate in the field that have experienced dramatic changes, our medical schools have also been affected. In some ways, due to the pause on in-person clinical training some med students faced, we could say these changes were unfortunate. Looking forward, however, medicine is now creating post-pandemic visions of health care that may have positive and lasting effects around the world. 

The adjustments that medical schools had to make beginning in early 2020 touched both ideology and clinical practice. Nearly every aspect of how medical students would learn was touched. Administrations, professors, and students themselves had to adjust on the fly. There was no warning, no instruction manual to follow, and a whole generation of doctors to train. What is interesting about this scenario is that it may offer some of the best opportunities to transform the system from the ground up. 

One of the most significant changes to occur during this time was the switch to online learning. The technical aspects of this transition were relatively easy. It’s the clinical aspect that can prove challenging. Regardless of the advances we’ve made in technology and simulation, a switch to online learning could diminish the hands-on portion of clinical medicine that is so necessary and integral to success for new doctors. Being an advancing field, medicine demands that doctors continue to progress in their awareness of human anatomy, which we still believe comes best through cadaver training. 

While some institutions have moved solely to virtual reality simulators and video libraries of old patient interviews and exams, these are poor substitutes for […]

September 15th, 2021|Cadavers in Medical Training|Comments Off on Medical Schools are Shifting to Post-Pandemic Visions: Is There a Place for Cadaver Training?|
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    The Essential ways that Cadaver Training Helps First Responders

The Essential ways that Cadaver Training Helps First Responders

The value of anatomy as an integral aspect of medical science and education has been understood for aeons. The anatomical structure of the human body, in particular, is foundational to the retention of clinical knowledge. This is as true for nurses and first responders as it is for medical doctors and surgeons. It is also true for those who develop medical devices and instrumentation. For many years, medical institutions have supported academic development by teaching anatomy and physiology. Many medical students can remember the first time they set foot in the cadaver lab. However, as times and technologies have changed, education as it pertains to anatomy has shifted into the virtual realm. 

The argument regarding the continued validity of real-life, hands-on cadaver training has gone on for years now. Respectfully, we maintain our stance that anything less than cadaver training is lacking in giving a medical professional or first responder the skills to face what they will be exposed to on the job. Cadaver training isn’t just about anatomy and physiology. It is about gaining the visual and tactile experience of various anatomical structures. It is about exposure to the natural variables that exist in the human body. Ultimately, cadaver training is more than a conceptual experience, it is one that involves mind, body, and emotion. 
Additional Aspects of Clinical Work
While anatomy is an important aspect of clinical practice, the involvement of emotional and psychological responses on the job cannot be overlooked. These responses exist even in the educational sector in which students enter the cadaver lab. Numerous students have written of the emotional response they have had in the lab. Between 5 and 7 percent of cadaver lab participants have reported experiencing recurrent images of […]

August 15th, 2021|Cadavers in Medical Training|Comments Off on The Essential ways that Cadaver Training Helps First Responders|

How Cadaver Training can Influence Rhinoplasty Outcomes

Plastic and reconstructive surgeons are under tremendous pressure to achieve optimal aesthetic outcomes for their patients. In the cosmetic realm, there may be no procedure that is more “high-stakes” than rhinoplasty. Tissues must be handled delicately to avoid damage or suboptimal results. Judging by the number of rhinoplasty revisions that take place each year, this is a procedure that requires a high degree of specific skill. Here, we discuss how one study points to the value of cadaver training for plastic surgeons who want to up their rhinoplasty game. According to one poll, it is estimated that over 90% of American plastic surgeons perform at least one revision rhinoplasty each year. Additional training may reduce this number. 

Rhinoplasty-specific skills can be obtained in a few ways. The most common model of education is for a plastic surgeon to complete academic training and residency. An additional layer of education is for the surgeon to participate in a cadaver-based program. In one study, researchers at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina compared these two models to assess how each may relate to rhinoplasty outcomes. 

A total of 50 plastic surgery residents participated in the study. Twenty five of the residents had no experience performing rhinoplasty. These participants entered a 40-hour cadaver-based program that took place over two weeks. In the control group were the other 25 residents. These participants did not participate in the cadaver-based training, but instead learned rhinoplasty techniques through an academic program. After the two week cadaver-based training, all study participants performed rhinoplasty on live patients. The surgical procedures were videotaped and assessed by evaluators who did not know the identity of study participants by watching these screenings. Participants were graded as:

Very good […]

June 15th, 2021|Cadavers in Medical Training, Surgical Procedure Trainings|Comments Off on How Cadaver Training can Influence Rhinoplasty Outcomes|
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    Military Medics and First Responders Benefit from hands-on Cadaver Use

Military Medics and First Responders Benefit from hands-on Cadaver Use

As clinical medicine, including field medicine, has advanced and become more technological, students and instructors have faced nuanced challenges. Namely, does technology such as virtual simulation offer more benefit to those learning human anatomy than cadaver training? The argument for VR instruction has been strong. However, when we listen to students themselves, we gain clarity regarding the unparalleled value of donated human cadavers in all areas of medicine. Here, we’ll briefly discuss how an experiment performed at the Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas (AFNS) supports this training modality.

The cadaver lab experiment took place in 2016 in the Sustainment for Trauma and Resuscitation Skills Program, overseen at that time by Staff Sgt. Reginald Gilchrist. When conducting the program, Gilchrist explained the reasoning for cadaver-use in this way. He stated, “The high fidelity medical simulators we utilize during the course are some of the most advanced on the market, but still do not compare to working on cadavers.” 

Multiple bodies of research have confirmed the benefits of cadaver labs for medical students, first-responders, and even medical device developers. Data from numerous studies and personal student accounts reflect the value of a controlled training environment. Students learning how to address human conditions, including traumatic injury, experience a gamut of emotions. Is it not better for them to do so in a safe place using a cadaver than in a critical situation? 

In this way, virtual simulations simply cannot compare to the real-life scenarios faced by those on battle-fields and the streets, in which appropriate care is a life-or-death reaction.

When interviewed about the military cadaver lab in San Antonio, Gilchrist summed it up poignantly and directly, stating that, outside of working in a trauma unit, “most medics don’t get […]

May 15th, 2021|Cadavers in Medical Training|Comments Off on Military Medics and First Responders Benefit from hands-on Cadaver Use|
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    Study Confirms the Validity of Cadaver Training for Emergency Medicine

Study Confirms the Validity of Cadaver Training for Emergency Medicine

In recent years as educational curricula have become more sophisticated, an increasing number of residents are expected to perform competently based on skills learned through simulation. Various simulation methods look good on paper. They are lower cost and more readily available than cadaver-based educational training. While this may be true, there are benefits to cadaver use that cannot be overstated. Here, we discuss the findings of a recent study that measured variables among a small group of emergency medicine residents after exposure to cadaver training versus simulation.

The pilot study that sought to discern the outcomes of cadaver training in comparison to simulation involved twenty-two senior emergency medicine residents. Participants had already completed their standard simulation training in tube thoracostomy and cricothyrotomy. After then performing these low-frequency procedures on cadavers, participants were surveyed regarding the accuracy of training. A 100-point visual analog scale provided necessary data to compare equality between the two scenarios, with 100 being equal. Additionally, participants estimated if comfort level with the performance of each of the procedures improved and, if so, how much. This was reported on a scale of 0% to 100%.

One-hundred percent of participants responded via survey. For the cricothyrotomy procedure, respondents measured the constancy of simulation training at 34.7 ± 13.4. The rating for cadaver training in cricothyrotomy was 79.9 ± 7.0. The simulation rating for tube thoracostomy was 38.4 ± 19.3 vs. 86 ± 8.6 for cadaver training. Comfort levels for both procedures improved an average of 78.5% among all participants, who cited superior tissue integrity as a critical aspect of care.

Med Ed Labs was established to advance knowledge and clinical skills across several fields of medicine. We believe that the more accurate the training model, the […]

April 15th, 2021|Cadavers in Medical Training|Comments Off on Study Confirms the Validity of Cadaver Training for Emergency Medicine|
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    Cadavers Play an Integral Role in the Future of Plastic Surgery

Cadavers Play an Integral Role in the Future of Plastic Surgery

The importance of clinical training is relevant to every area of medicine. While plastic surgery is largely perceived as “cosmetic” by the average consumer, it is much more. The plastic surgeon must have familiarity with deep planes of tissue, bone, fascia, nerves, and other structures of the face and body. While we have witnessed dramatic shifts in the education of new surgeons, we have yet to see an alternative to cadaver training. The reason is simple, the objectives of surgical training are better met when the anatomical specimen closely resembles an operative specimen.
The Value of Cadavers in Plastic Surgery Training
Plastic surgery is the repair or reconstruction of one or more parts of the face or body. Plastic surgeons may perform many rejuvenating procedures, such as facelift surgery. However, they also treat women who have undergone mastectomy surgery. They repair tissue that has been badly damaged in a traumatic event, such as a fire or dog attack. Some plastic surgeons are extending their technical skills into the area of transplant surgeries. The work performed by a plastic surgeon, then, dramatically affects their patients’ quality of life.

The success that plastic surgeons have achieved to date has been largely attributed to working with cadavers. This is a logical perspective, seeing that the basis of most plastic surgery procedures is to reposition tissue from one area to another. To fully understand the three-dimensional relationship of anatomical structures, a surgeon needs a lifelike model, and there is no model like the human body. In this way, cadavers play an integral role in the success of plastic surgery procedures. They are also a partner in building surgical confidence in a safe, controlled environment.

We’ve all heard unfortunate stories of botched plastic […]

March 15th, 2021|Cadavers in Medical Training|Comments Off on Cadavers Play an Integral Role in the Future of Plastic Surgery|