Comparison of dissection-based vs. internet-based pelvic anatomy education for 3rd year medical students

Pouya Javadian, S. Shobeiri


With the inclusion of various technologies, teaching anatomy to medical students is in the midst of a transition in medical schools. The traditional anatomy curriculum based on topographical structural anatomy taught by didactic lectures and complete dissection of the body with personal instruction, has been replaced by a multiple range of special study modules, problem-based workshops, computer based education, plastic models, just to name a few of teaching tools employed. Most new tools in the literature are descriptive and lack efficacy data.

In this study we compared an internet-based anatomy module with traditional methods taught to the 3rd year medical students.

During 2008-2014, pelvic anatomy was taught to 3rd year medical students using dissection-based (DB) and internet-based (IB) methods. This module was composed of 30 minutes of a lecture with PowerPoint, 30 minutes of anatomy videos, 30 minutes of dissection lab, and a post-test at the conclusion. The 30 min of anatomy video course consisted of 30 minutes session designed to address the perineal external and internal anatomy, perineal muscles and neurovasculature, caudad view of levator ani muscle, lateral view of pelvic organs and vasculature, cephalad view of pelvic organs and nerves, and cephalad view of the levator ani muscle. The same course material and the PowerPoint presentations used were converted to digital format and taught as an internet-based (IB) module without inclusion of a dissection lab. We compared the students’ performance at final assessment between DB vs. IB groups.

Comparison between DB and IB groups revealed significantly (P<0.0001) higher mean score for the IB group in all learning objectives except perineal Internal Anatomy (P= 0.431).

3rd year medical students demonstrated higher pelvic floor anatomy scores after completing an internet-based module compared to a traditional dissection based course.


Ball J, Petrocco-Napuli K, Zumpano M. An international survey of gross anatomy courses in chiropractic colleges. J Chiropr Educ. 2012 Fall;26(2):175-83.

Craig S, Tait N, Boers D, McAndrew D. Review of anatomy education in Australian and New Zealand medical schools. ANZ J Surg. 2010 Apr;80(4):212-6.

Ganske I, Su T, Loukas M, Shaffer K. Teaching methods in anatomy courses in North American medical schools the role of radiology. Acad Radiol. 2006 Aug;13(8):1038-46.

Chung E, Nam K, Oh S, Han E, Woo Y, Hitchcock M. Advance organizers in a gross anatomy dissection course and their effects on academic achievement. Clin Anat. 2013 Apr;26(3):327-32.

Collins T, Randall LG, Claire EH, Miller B. Status of gross anatomy in the U.S. and Canada: Dilemma for the 21st century. Clinical Anatomy. 1994;7(2):275-96.

Granger N, Calleson D, Henson O, Juliano E, Wineski L, McDaniel M, et al. Use of Web-based materials to enhance anatomy instruction in the health sciences. Anat Rec B New Anat. 2006 Jul;289(4):121-7.

Arroyo-Jimenez MM, Marcos P, Martinez-Marcos A, Artacho-Pérula E, Blaizot X, Muñoz M, et al. Gross anatomy dissections and self-directed learning in medicine. Clin Anat. 2005 Jul;18(5):385-91.

Saxena V, Natarajan P, O'Sullivan P, Jain S. Effect of the use of instructional anatomy videos on student performance. Anat Sci Educ. 2008 Jul-Aug;1(4):159-65.

Winkelmann A. Anatomical dissection as a teaching method in medical school: a review of the evidence. Med Educ. 2007 Jan;41(1):15-22.

Theoret C, Carmel E, Bernier S. Why dissection videos should not replace cadaver prosections in the gross veterinary anatomy curriculum: results from a comparative study. J Vet Med Educ. 2007 Spring;34(2):151-6.

Mahmud W, Hyder O, Butt J, Aftab A. Dissection videos do not improve anatomy examination scores. Anat Sci Educ. 2011 Jan-Feb;4(1):16-21.

Scott D, Cendan J, Pugh C, Minter R, Dunnington G, Kozar R. The changing face of surgical education: simulation as the new paradigm. J Surg Res. 2008 Jun 15;147(2):189-93.

McNulty J, Sonntag B, Sinacore J. Evaluation of computer-aided instruction in a gross anatomy course: a six-year study. Anat Sci Educ. 2009 Jan-Feb;2(1):2-8.

Hassinger J, Dozois E, Holubar S, Camp J, Farley D, Fidler J, et al. Virtual pelvic anatomy simulator: a pilot study of usability and perceived effectiveness. J Surg Res. 2010 Jun 1;161(1):23-7.

Lozanoff S, Lozanoff B, Sora M, Rosenheimer J, Keep M, Tregear J, et al. Anatomy and the access grid: exploiting plastinated brain sections for use in distributed medical education. Anat Rec B New Anat. 2003 Jan;270(1):30-7.

Jacobs J, Caudell T, Wilks D, Keep M, Mitchell S, Buchanan H, et al. Integration of advanced technologies to enhance problem-based learning over distance: Project TOUCH. Anat Rec B New Anat. 2003 Jan;270(1):16-22.

Drake R. A unique, innovative, and clinically oriented approach to anatomy education. Acad Med. 2007 May;82(5):475-8.

Dobson H, Pearl R, Orsay C, Rasmussen M, Evenhouse R, Ai Z, et al. Virtual reality: new method of teaching anorectal and pelvic floor anatomy. Dis Colon Rectum. 2003 Mar;46(3):349-52.

Corrêa L, de Campos A, Souza S, Novelli M. Teaching oral surgery to undergraduate students: a pilot study using a Web-based practical course. Eur J Dent Educ. 2003 Aug;7(3):111-5.


  • There are currently no refbacks.