29 October 2009

Pause for a moment of dissection

I had my first "Wow" moment of anatomy dissection this week. Not to say that other things haven't been interesting or informative, but what I saw this week was really amazing. Part of lab is the expectation that you will complete dissection on the cadaver at your table and learn from the variation present in other cadavers throughout the lab to make the most of the unique experience afforded by our generous donors and to give students a chance to learn about natural variation.

Most joints have nice smooth surfaces, you can see a glossy shine to the cartilage on the bone ends. My table dissected the hip joint and we noticed some degenerative changes at the head of the femur, but nothing which really made me stop and take note. As I circled the lab to see the other hips, knees and ankles which had been opened, I stopped and could not believe my eyes. This knee was matte, dull and had grooves on the back of the patella and the front of the femur. I don't mean little changes of less shiny or grooves you could play back on a record player. I mean you set a cheap ballpoint pen into the groove and it would almost disappear. And there were 4-5 grooves that deep. Amazing, this woman was walking around on a knee (or maybe knees) that was so worn. You'd have to ask an orthopedic doc, but I'd guess that didn't feel very good. As I examined the joint with other students at the table, we tried to find the medial meniscus (your main cushion for all the pounding of your femur onto your tibia) and only a thin rim of it remained at the inside and the back. The only word for the entire joint was wow.


Ms. Sylaneous said...

LOL...and ouch! I remember my anatomy days! I had done dissections before in other high school and college classes, but freshman year of dental school was CRAZY! We took most freshman and 1/2 sophomore classes with the med students. Our Cadaver was a litttttllllee on the healthy side. We had to cover her face at first because none of us were trying to see her face as we sliced into her! We found LOTS of interesting things... her lungs were QUITE interesting. (We had 'bonus' points for tying to figure out clues about our cadaver's lives as we dissected... and if we could examine the insides adn come up with the cause of death, we'd get 'extra credit'.) Her lungs were AWFUL! We guessed 'lung cancer'. One group had a relatively young cadaver (relatively young= 45 years old) who had a PENILE IMPLANT! One cadaver had breast implants. We found pace makers, bullets, plaque in hearts, blood clots in brains... it was fun, but I was SOOOOOO super happy when I didn't have to go home smelling like the lab daily!

Good post! Good luck in school!

You should check out some of my blogs. I've been blogging about my new job (dental resident) in my new city (new orleans). Quite interesting people/patients down here!

Ms. Sylaneous said...

oops... I guess I should include my blog link (in case it doesn't come up with my name) htt://trauamanddrama.blogspot.com