Objective: To determine whether a course in cadaver dissection can significantly increase resident knowledge of pelvic anatomy beyond that of current educational practices.
Methods: Thirteen first-and second-year residents were randomly assigned to a cadaver dissection course (seven) or a control group (six). The dissection group performed dissections with instruction, using a dissection guide designed specifically for the course. The control group received study references on pelvic anatomy and protected study time. Each participant took a practical and written examination at the beginning and end of the study.
Results: The two groups did not differ statistically in their scores on the pre-test. Both groups improved on the posttest, but the dissection group scored nearly 50% higher on the test than did the controls. The two groups differed significantly on the post-test, adjusted for pre-test performance (P < .01). In their evaluation of the course, participants from the dissection group emphasized its educational value and urged that it be offered to residents as a regular part of their training.
Conclusion: Dissection of a human cadaver provides a valuable experience, allowing participants to gain a greater understanding of surgical anatomy and surgical procedures in a no-risk, unhurried setting. Residents who participated in a cadaver dissection course designed specifically for their needs showed a statistically significant increase in knowledge compared with those without this experience. Both objectively and subjectively, a cadaver dissection course is an excellent tool for instructing gynecology residents.
(C) 1995 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists