Time Spent in Practicing Dissection Correlated with Improvement in Anatomical Knowledge of Students: Experimental Study in an Integrated Learning Program

Hussein Abdellatif

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction and aim Cadaveric dissection has long been used as the main domain for teaching anatomy in medical schools. However, recently with a limited number of cadavers and time for practicing dissection, prosections and anatomical models are widely used and may replace traditional dissection. We aimed to explore the possible association between practicing dissection and test results among medical students and to determine whether there are differences in achievements between students who studied anatomy by cadaveric dissection and those who used prosections and anatomical models. Methods The study was conducted at the University of Bisha, College of Medicine, Saudi Arabia, during the period from March to August 2017. Students were randomly assigned to one of two groups (50 in each). The first group studied anatomy (upper limb course) by practicing dissection while the other studied it by using prosections and anatomical models. Both groups were subjected to the same final assessments. Scores of both groups were compared by using the Student's t-test. Correlation analysis between time spent in practicing dissection (carefully registered using a predesigned portfolio and an attendance logbook) and assessment grades was implemented using the rank-based Pearson correlation coefficient. Results Students practicing dissection achieved higher grades (169 ± 1.99) than those who studied anatomy by only using prosections and anatomical models (142 ± 1.78, p<0.001). There was an association between the time spent in practicing dissections and overall anatomy summative assessments (r2=0.841, p<0.001). Students expressed positive responses towards the effectiveness and value of practicing dissection. Conclusions We concluded that practicing dissection helps students to achieve higher results than learning using only models and prosections. Time spent in practicing dissection correlated with final assessment results. Further research is required to measure not only the statistical significance of results but also their educational effectiveness and long term learning outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e7558
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 6 2020
Externally publishedYes

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