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How Virtual Anatomy can Remedy your Cadaver Frustrations

Overcoming the decreasing availability of cadavers in academia

August 13, 2019

The landscape of human anatomy education is in an interesting situation. We are at a time where anatomy budgets are getting slashed and, in many situations, human cadavers become priced out of school curriculum. This is a problem.

Human cadavers have always been the gold standard of anatomy education and for good reason. Unfortunately, studies suggest that the number of individuals willing to donate their body for cadaveric dissection after death is on the decline. Juxtapose that with the knowledge that cadaveric demands are on the rise, and you can see the issue – there is not enough cadavers to supply our need.

Real anatomy human upper body scan

Human cadavers allowed for comprehensive education beyond textbooks and physical models; learning and developing skills such as:

  • Identifying nuances of the more intricate human systems
  • Spatial relationships of real anatomy
  • Natural variations in development, structure, and pathology
  • Transfer of skill into the work place

No cadavers, No problem

Fortunately, we can develop those skills another way with Virtual 3D solutions using real human anatomy.

With this emergent technology, we can augment the education cadavers give access to by using real human anatomy. This is done by stacking multiple medical imaging scans and interpolating between each pixel to turn 2D data into 3D visualizations - a virtual model sufficient enough to fulfil the cadaver’s role. Accompanied with thousands of anatomical examples in the MyBodyViz Library, students gain exposure to real-life cases of variations, pathology, disease, injury and more. This provides students with valuable experience that is nearly impossible to replicate, even with access to cadaveric specimens.

If you need evidence, our clients can attest to the reliability of using BodyViz to surmount cadaver limitations. Furthermore, this is empirically validated by SOTL research, suggesting computer-assisted instruction (CAI) - such as virtual anatomy software - provided valuable opportunity to supplement cadaver-based instruction or completely replace cadaver-based instruction.

With real anatomy visualized in 3D, students will:

  • Develop a deeper students comprehension of spatial relationships
  • Experience natural variations in development, structure, and pathology
  • Easily transfer skill into the workplace

What to do about it

If you are having frustrations with availability of cadavers – as most of us are - then schedule a demo with the BodyViz team at a time that accommadates your schedule. We can work with you to keep a gold standard education.


Further reading can be found below.

Helpful Links:

Video: One-minute BodyViz Introduction

Article: 3D Anatomical Student Comprehension Solved

Article: Modeled vs Real 3D Anatomy Software

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