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Plastinated prosections in undergraduate anatomy teaching – an innovative
approach to studying the human body

Birgit H . Fruhstorfer*, Emma C. Esquilant, Tim R attay, Anne-Marie Feeley, Paul G azzani, Jamie
Roebuck, U zma M. Satti, Stephen Brydges, G regory Smith, Peter H . Abrahams (Warwick Medical
School, University of Warwick, Gibbet Hill Road, Coventry CV4 7AL, United Kingdom)

Over the past decade anatomy teaching has been substantially transformed in most UK medical schools. Active dissection of cadaveric specimens has been gradually replaced by prosection-based methods and other resources such as e-learning. However, debate continues in relation to content, style and duration of undergraduate anatomy teaching.

Summary of work:
In Warwick Medical School a range of plastinated prosections have recently been introduced substituting the use of cadaveric specimens in undergraduate anatomy teaching. These specimens are impregnated by a polymer replacing water molecules ensuring safe and odourless handling. First year medical students familiarize themselves with the anatomy of the human body by studying a number of plastinated prosections in interactive small group sessions facilitated by a tutor. Learning is further supplemented by
simultaneous sessions in normal radiological anatomy and correlative e-learning packages.

Summary of results:
This new method of anatomy teaching has been enthusiastically received by medical students. A mixed method approach has been employed to evaluate reactions and attitudes of medical students.

Learning human anatomy on plastinated specimens has been favourably perceived by medical students.
Take-home messages: Plastinated prosections present a promising alternative to cadaveric specimens in undergraduate anatomy teaching.


RARITY – a new e-learning tool integrating radiology and anatomy for medical students 
Tim RATTAY1, Stephen BRYDGES1, Emma C. ESQUILANT1, Anne-Marie FEELEY1, Birgit FRUHSTORFER1, Paul GAZZANI1, Elizabeth M. McEVOY1, Jamie ROEBUCK1, Uzma M. SATTI1, Anil VOHRAH2, Richard M. WELLINGS2, Peter H. ABRAHAMS1 1Institute of Clinical Education, University of Warwick Medical School, Gibbet Hill Road, Coventry, CV4 7AL, U.K.2Department of Radiology, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, Clifford Bridge Road, Coventry, CV2 2DX, U.K.   

For its new anatomy course, Warwick Medical School has replaced cadaveric dissection with the use of plastinated prosections and axial slices.  Students rotate through prosections and weekly radiological-anatomy tutorials. 

Summary of Work
To complement the radiological-anatomy component of the course, we have created a new web-based interactive tutorial.  RARITY places 120 normal radiological images alongside correlating images of plastinated prosections and slices.  Up to twelve key structures are highlighted.  Students are invited to undertake two interactive tasks:  ‘name the highlighted structure’ and ‘locate the highlighted structure’.  The students do ten images each week corresponding to the weekly anatomy session.Student participation is recorded and exposed on a high score table.  Preliminary evaluation was performed using satisfaction questionnaires. 

Summary of Results
Student participation and satisfaction are high.  Constructive feedback will be incorporated into the further development of the programme.  Correlation of high scores and end-of-year exam results will be presented. 

Our data suggests that RARITY is a popular e-learning tool and that its integrated nature has improved student learning of radiological anatomy.   

Take-home message
RARITY is a unique e-learning resource to supplement the weekly anatomy course and facilitates the early integration of radiology and anatomy in the medical curriculum.  

West Midlands Strategic Health Authority for funding of plastinates, University of Warwick Teaching Quality Enhancement Fund for funding for RARITY, Elsevier for radiological images used in RARITY and additional anatomical images.