DOI: 10.1093/bjs/znad258.617 ISSN:

1241 A Review: How Is Anatomy Best Taught in Postgraduate Surgical Education?

T Chaudhuri, A George
  • Surgery



Successful surgery relies on complete appreciation of the appropriate anatomy, with inadequate expertise noted as a key cause of surgical errors. Despite this, there are fewer formal sessions dedicated to anatomy tuition, with surgical trainees expected to be taught “at the operating table” (Older, 2004).


We investigated how various anatomy teaching methods were received by core surgical trainees (CSTs).


28 CSTs from West Midlands deanery attended a training day at Keele Anatomy and Surgical Training Centre, comprising tuition using cadavers and Primal Pictures software. Feedback forms investigating several factors, including progress through postgraduate surgical examinations, and opinions on resources used for revision, were sent out one week and 3-6 months after the session.


Of the attending delegates, 37.9% had failed Part A MRCS, 27.6% had passed Part A, with a further 10.3% having also passed Part B. Principal resources used for anatomy revision were textbooks and videos, with question banks and anatomy apps also used. Access to cadavers was highlighted as a significant benefit, allowing for “real-life” learning, with 86% of delegates preferring anatomy tuition using cadavers outright or in combination with Primal Pictures.


The opportunity to access human specimens appears unparalleled in its ability to illustrate “real-life” anatomy. However, these are scarce resources, and require experts to facilitate tuition, creating significant limitations to providing regular and reliable teaching. Anatomy textbooks remain a consistent choice, but with the modern migration to a world permeated with a virtual presence, the internet, videos, and apps are becoming prevalent and viable considerations.

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