Dissection training is time-honoured right of passage for all medical students. It remains the most popular and most effect method of learning anatomy. During lectures and practical trainings, students are mainly taught systematic anatomy, a discipline which describes organs, their structure and development. Topographical anatomy is taught during the dissection training. Topographical anatomy is essential for a deeper understanding of the structure of the human body as it describes regions and divisions of the body and spatial relationships between organs and other anatomical structures. Dissection training is taught using human cadavers, which have been donated to the Department of Anatomy. Dissection training occurs as two week-long blocks, occurring at the end of each semester.
- Winter semester: Bones, joints, muscles, vessels, nerves and topography of the extremities. Muscles and selected topographic spaces of the trunk.
- Summer semester: Topography of the head and neck, description of the internal organs and topography of the body cavities. Repetition of winter semester topics.
Each dissection courses lasts for five consecutive days, with each day from 14.00 till 18.00 (from 2 p.m. till 6 p.m.) in the afternoon of each day. The first day begins with a short lecture introducing the selected topographical spaces and structures. No absence is allowed. Exceptionally, absence is only allowed for very serious reasons after agreement with the course teacher. Practical trainings are cancelled during the dissection course. Education during the dissection course is led by the employees of the Anatomy Department together with student lecturers and demonstrators. Students in each double-group are divided into three smaller groups, to allow more efficient and intensive learning.
First to third day: Small student groups (A–C) alternate between three stations: learning, repetition and dissection. Each day each group spends time on all stations. The schedule for rotation between stations and the topics to be covered are announced at the beginning of the dissection course.
Fourth day: Remaining undissected structures are dissected.
Fifth day: Oral examination.
When in the dissection room, each student is required to have a white coat, gloves and a change of shoes (or disposable shoe covers). Outdoor footwear is strictly forbidden. Furthermore, each student must have at least one pair of anatomical tweezers and a scalpel. Scalpels can either have permanently attached blades or removable and replaceable blades. We recommend scalpel blades no. 23 and 21 for handle size 4. Anatomical instruments can be bought in pharmacies, medical supply shops or from Medikbrand, an organisation run by students of the First Faculty of Medicine.
Classroom and dissection room rules
The list of rules for the classrooms and dissection rooms can be found here: Classroom and dissection room rules.
At the beginning of the exam each student receives one topic from topography. They are then allowed a few minute to prepare their topic, after which they have to present it to the examiner. The examiner asks questions about the topic and then asks the student to show and recognise various structures on the cadavers and specimen. Each exam lasts about 10–15 minutes. During the examinations, students still have to follow the rules of the dissection room: they must wear white coats, gloves and a change of shoes (or disposable shoe covers). They are also required to have a pair of tweezers.
Exam dates and retakes
Similarly, to the tests that take place throughout the semesters, students have three attempts at the dissection exam. The first attempt takes place on the last day of the dissection course. If a student fails to pass this exam, they are allowed to more attempts. Re-takes are held during the winter/summer semester or during the examination periods. Dates for re-takes are posted on the study information system (SIS).
Cloakrooms are available for students to store their belongings while working in the dissection rooms. Only anatomical instruments, textbooks, notepads and pens are allowed to be taken into the dissection rooms. We recommend that all students mark the textbooks they take into the dissection room with their name, group number and faculty.
At the end of the dissection course all students are required to fill out a short electronic form to help evaluate the course and the quality of the lecturers and demonstrators. The results of the evaluation help us to improve the education for the following years a select the best lecturers.
List of topographical questions
2. Foramen humerotricipitale et omotricipitale
3. Regio brachialis – topography of arm
4. Fossa cubiti
5. Regio antebrachialis – topography of forearm
6. Regio carpalis, canalis carpi
7. Regio manus, Spatium palmare medium X
8. The course of the nerves and vessels of the upper extremity X
9. Lacuna vasorum et musculorum, hernia femoralis
10. Trigonum femorale a fossa iliopectinea
11. Foramen ischiadicum majus et minus X
12. Regio femoralis – topography of thigh
13. Fossa poplitea X
14. Regio cruris – topography of leg X
15. Spatium retromalleolare laterale et mediale X
16. Structures in front of the medial malleolus, dorsum pedis
17. Planta pedis X
18. The course of the nerves and vessels of the lower extremity X
19. Abdominal wall, composition
20. Vagina mm. rectorum, hernias
21. Canalis inguinalis, hernias
22. Thoracic wall and intercostal space
23. Openings of the diaphragm
24. Superior and inferior lumbar triangles X
X – available after turning the body to the abdomen
1. Basis cranii interna
3. Regio facialis
4. Fossa pterygopalatina
5. Fossa infratemporalis
6. Trigonum cervicale anterius
7. Trigonum cervicale laterale
8. Trigonum caroticum
9. Trigonum submandibulare
10. Fissura scalenorum
11. Layers and spaces of the neck
13. Topographic relations of the oesophagus, trachea and aorta
14. Thoracic wall of the thorax
Abdomen and pelvis
16. Cavitas peritonealis
17. Definition of intra-, retro- and secondary retroperitoneal organs
18. Bursa omentalis
19. Mesenteries, omenta and recesses of peritoneal cavity
20. Right and left paracolic spaces
21. Biliary ducts, trigonum cystohepaticum
22. Course of ureter and ductus deferens
24. Abdominal regions, projection of the organs to the anterior abdominal wall
25. Topography of the male and female pelvis
Please keep in mind
When testing for summer dissection credit examiner may also ask:
- axilla and groin (inguinal canal, vascular and muscular spaces),
- parts of organs and their syntopy,
- blood and nerve supply of organs,
- muscles except for muscles of the forearm, hand, leg and foot and deep muscles of back.