Teaching anatomy with surgeons' tools: Use of the laparoscope in clinical anatomy

Colleen M. Fitzpatrick, Gary L. Kolesari, Karen J. Brasel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to establish the feasibility of laparoscopy in embalmed cadavers to teach abdominal gross anatomy. One cadaver was selected based on body habitus and absence of previous abdominal operations. A standard trocar was used to enter the abdomen at the umbilicus. Two trocars were placed in the left upper quadrant. Pneumoperitoneum was achieved with continuous CO2 pressure. Liver retraction was achieved percutaneously, exposing the porta hepatis and the gallbladder. The dissection was done with four first-year medical students using standard laparoscopic equipment. Following this, the demonstration was projected over multiple monitors so that all students could participate. Laparoscopic dissection in an embalmed cadaver is feasible and an excellent educational tool for both the medical student and the dissector. The dissector has the opportunity to manipulate laparoscopic tools in a human model closely paralleling operative experience, and the students have an opportunity to learn abdominal anatomy from a clinical perspective. Laparoscopic examination and dissection of fresh cadavers has been used for training surgeons on new procedures such as colon resection, antireflux procedures, and cholecystectomy. There is no report of this same technology used in embalmed cadavers to teach basic anatomy. This approach allows first-year medical students to learn the anatomy while exposing them to the technology currently used in surgical practice, and it affords surgical residents and students additional opportunities to practice laparoscopic skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-353
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Anatomy
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Cadaver
  • Laparoscope

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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