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Modeled vs Real 3D Anatomy Software

If You're Not Using Real Anatomy, You're Using a Cartoon

July 31, 2019

First a Story

Follow this roleplay for a second:

You are a car mechanic training an apprentice. You don’t want an inexperienced apprentice working with real client cars (because of the risk), so we'll say her education will be from a fake model in the backroom – a 2008 Honda Civic missing some details.

It is sufficient to practice most repairs needed in a mechanics repertoire. However, her education will lack experience with variations in structure, mileage, gas, oil, accidents, etc. that models cannot account for. Regardless, you conclude that this model will get the job done and your apprentice is ready to start. The problem is that you don’t find models in the field. You find real cars. And while this apprentice may pass all of the model derived tests, would you trust them to work on your car?

That is the issue in anatomy education today. We push students to review their textbook front and back. We provide them with occasional dissection opportunities. We encourage them to observe work in the field. We use the best physical models that money can buy.

But when graduation arrives, they will see real anatomy in the field. And just like the cars, we don’t see models in the field – we see the real thing. And just like the mechanics apprentice - if we study with models and not real anatomy, well, good luck.

BodyViz Creates Real 3D Anatomy from actual patient anatomy

Now the Facts

Modeled anatomy applications don’t include the components to prepare students for post-academic success.

For those confused: Modeled anatomy applications utilize computer generated models based on photographs, illustrations, and anatomical knowledge, that generalizes natural variations to create a typical representation of human anatomy.

We use physical and virtual anatomy models for students to:

- Learn spatial relationships

- Use different learning modalities

- Transfer skill into the workforce

When compared to textbook and lecture only curriculum, modeled data fulfils all of those bullet points. Compared to using real anatomy? Not so much.

Here is where modeled anatomy falls short:

- Modeled anatomy fails to account for the diversity of human body variations

- Modeled anatomy can not accurately depict certain nuanced body systems and circumstances

- Modeled anatomy provides inadequate student comprehension when compared to the use of real anatomy

Modeled anatomy falls short because, as many of you know, anatomy is rarely as neat and simple as it is portrayed in these applications. Real anatomy is riddled with natural variations--body type and gender, health status, patient age and developmental stage, existing conditions, and abnormal pathology.

Using real patient data in anatomy curriculum provides students an accurate understanding of the diversity of the human body – which is where BodyViz can help.

A BodyViz showcase scan - The thoracic cavity

How to use Real Anatomy Solutions

A core tenant of BodyViz solutions is that we use real patient data to create our visualizations.

This is done using complex mathematical algorithms to render visualizations directly from medical imaging data. Imagine stacking individual MRI or CT scan slices like a deck of cards. From that stack, the BodyViz rendering engine interpolates between every individual pixel on each medical imaging slice and transforms the 2D data into a 3D visualization.

Using real anatomy in education provides benefits such as:

- Increasing student engagement and comprehension of actual anatomy

- Showcasing realistic and broad variations in human anatomy

- Preparing students for their post-academic careers

The use of real anatomy is becoming less of a suggestion and more of a necessity.

These links below give you an idea of how real anatomy solutions can be integrated in the classroom:

Ole Miss Case Study

Blue Mountain College Case Study

BodyViz Introduction Video

Blue Mountain College and BodyViz collaboration image

Modeled data can only take education so far. At some point you need to switch over to real anatomy, and sooner is better than later.

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